Jargon Used

kWh or Unit. The back of your power bill shows the number of units you have used in the last (approx) month. kWh (Kilowatts per hour) is the same as units. It is expressed as c/unit. (cents per unit). For example 15.57 c/unit. An average NZ home (not school!) uses around 9,000 kWh a year.

Power Company. The company which charges for the power you use from the national grid. They are also the same company which pays you for any power you generate. e.g. Meridian Power, Genesis Energy, Mighty River Power.

Lines Company. The company which provides the poles, wires and equipment that deliver power to your house, school or business. Their charge is listed on your power bill as "Daily Fixed Charge". Unfortunately you are charged by both companies, fortunately their charges are on one account.

Import/Export Meter. When you generate your own power, the meter which reads how much power you use, needs to be changed to an import/export meter as meters are not supposed to "turn backwards".

Solar Panels or PV or Photovoltaic. All these terms refer to the panels on your roof which generate power from the sun or daylight.

Tilt Frame. If your roof pitch is too flat, a tilt frame holds the PV panels at the correct angle facing the sun. Usually made of anodised aluminium.

Base Load. The amount of power your building uses constantly, that is not used in response to the outside weather. For example fridges, appliances on standby etc.

Peak Load. This is the maximum amount of power you use. For example, when you come home from work during winter, turn the heat pump up, turn the oven on and switch on the electric jug. You are now running at peak load.