Like many industries, the energy industry has developed an language all of it's own. Brokers and suppliers talk about Duos Charges and Triads and avialabiity, but what to they actually mean?

We've put together what we think is the most complete glossary of energy terms on the net, if you can't find what you're looking for here give us a call and we'll see if we can help you.


Back office:

The term used to describe the accounting and settlements function of a trading house.


Importing of electricity from NGC (400kV) or low voltage system (11kV).


Term used to describe an energy market in which the anticipated value of the spot price in the future is lower than the current spot price. When a market is in backwardation, market participants expect the spot price to go down. The reverse situation is described as contango.

Balancing Mechanism:

Provides the System operator (NGC) with the means to match system wide imbalances in supply and demand of electricity and adjust local and bulk power flows to ensure the security of the power network. The operation of the balancing mechanism begins after gate closure.


Standard measure of quantity for crude oil and petroleum products. Barrel, US barrel and standard barrel are all equal to 42 US gallons.

Barrels of oil equivalent:

Volume of natural gas expressed in terms of its energy equivalent to oil. About 6,000 cubic feet of gas equals one barrel of oil equivalent.


The minimum expected customer power requirements at a given time. Baseload power is generally supplied from larger plants, which cannot be ramped up and down as quickly as demand is generally predictable and steady; it is less expensive than peak power.

Base load capacity:

The generating equipment normally operated to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.

Base load plant:

A plant, usually housing high-efficiency steam-electric units, which is normally operated to take all or part of the minimum load of a system, and which consequently produces electricity at an essentially constant rate and runs continuously. These units are operated to maximize system mechanical and thermal efficiency and minimize system operating costs.


The difference that exists at any time between the cash, or spot price of a given commodity and the price of the nearest futures contract for the same (or related) commodity. The basis may reflect different time periods, products forms, qualities or locations. The cash price minus the futures price equals the basis.

Basis Risk:

Basis risk is the risk that the value of a futures contract (or an over the-counter hedge) will not move in line with that of the underlying exposure. Alternatively, it is the risk that the cash-futures spread will widen or narrow between the times at which a hedge position is implemented and liquidated.

BAU (Business-As-Usual):

BAU or Business-As-Usual is often referred to as the baseline scenario under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, i.e. if company’s included in the EU ETS continue operating without any change to their operational patterns or without any action to reduce CO2 emissions, it is the forecast of CO2 emissions based on a Business-As-Usual scenario.


Abbreviation for barrel


The abbreviation for barrel(s) per day.


Billion cubic feet (of gas.)

B/D, BD, or BPD:

Barrels per day. Used to express crude oil production, refinery throughput capacity (ie, capacity of crude distillation unit), liftings, forward demand projections and crude consumption rates.


British Electricity Trading and Transmission Arrangements – arrangements designed to draw Scotland into the British wholesale market for trading power. The scheme was implemented on April 1, 2005.

Beach Gas

(UK) gas production offshore and brought onshore to shore/beach gas terminal, but not yet part of the national transmission system.


British Hydropower Association.


A measure of market liquidity, also known as bid/offer. The bid is the price level at which the buyers are willing to buy, and the ask is the price level at which sellers are willing to sell. The thinner the spread, the higher the liquidity.

Bid/Offer Pair:

A bid/offer pair is where a BSC party indicates that it is willing to operate at a level other than that at the Final Physical Notification (FPN) in exchange for payment. Offers indicate the willingness to operate above the level of the FPN and bids indicate the willingness to operate below the level of FPN. These Bid/Offer pairs are submitted to the balancing mechanism. The system operator can accept a Bid or Offer up until real time, as long as acceptance is compatible with the dynamic parameters of the BM Unit.


  1. (NETA) A willingness to reduce the level of generation or increase the level of demand over or below the Physical Notification submitted for a half hour period.
  2. (Trading) The price at which a trader is willing to buy.

Bilateral Contract:

An agreement between two counterparties to offset the value of all in-the-money contracts with all out-of-the-money contracts, resulting in a single net exposure amount owed by one counterparty to the other.


Any liquid biofuel suitable as a diesel fuel substitute or diesel fuel additive or extender.  Biodiesel fuels are typically made from oils such as soybeans, rapeseed, or sunflowers, or from animal tallow.  Biodiesel is typically sold as a part of a blend with fossil biodiesel; B30 is a blend of 30% biodiesel and 70% diesel. B5 meets the UK specification for conventional diesel.


Methane-rich gas produced from biodegradable material (e.g. landfill gas and sewage gas).


Organic non fossil material of biological origin constituting a renewable energy source.

Black start:

The ability to start power generating without taking power from the grid.

Blast furnace:

A furnace in which solid fuel (coke) is burned with an air blast to smelt ore.

BM Unit:

A unit of generation plant or demand plant/apparatus that imports and/or exports electricity so that physical imports and exports can be treated appropriately under the BSC.


Balancing Mechanism Reporting Agent under NETA; a role at present provided by Logica

Brent Blend Crude Oil:

UK Brent blend is a blend of crude oil from various fields in the east Shetland basin.  The crude is landed at the Sullom Voe terminal and is used as a benchmark for the pricing of much of the world’s crude oil production.


Bid Offer Acceptance. A bid or offer accepted by NGC in the balancing mechanism.


The abbreviation for barrels of oil equivalent (used internationally).


The total of all forward positions held by a trader or company.


British thermal unit. The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit (technically from 60degreesF to 61degrees F). It is used to compare the heat-producing value of different fuels.


Balancing Reserve Level. BRL is the amount of energy held in reserve assumed to be required to support the energy imbalance. BRL was originally set at 180MW but later reduced to 5MW.


An intermediary between traders for physical, futures and over-the counter deals.  Brokers receive a fixed commission predetermined between the broker and his/her client.


Balancing Services Adjustment Data. In addition to accepting bids and offers in the balancing mechanism the system operator can contract ahead for balancing services.  Balancing services contracts that are deemed to replace the need for accepting bids and offers in the balancing mechanism for energy balancing purposes are included in the EIP calculation. The information relating to such contracts is known as Balancing and Settlement Adjustment Data.


Balancing and Settlement Code for electricity trading under NETA. Rules that govern how the two key functions of NETA (the balancing mechanism and imbalance settlement) are carried out.

BSC party:

This is a signatory to the BSC code.


British Wind Energy Association.