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Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

A
Above-Market Generation - Electricity produced at costs higher than prevailing market prices.
 
Access - The right to use part of the transmission or distribution system to send and/or receive electricity.
 
Access Charge - A charge or fee for the customer's use of a utility's transmission or distribution system. A delivery charge paid to the local distribution company.
[Water] 100 cubic feet. Unit of measurement used to record the water use of a customer in a billing period. 1 CCF = 748 gallons. [PSC]
 
[Telephone] A fee charged by a local exchange carrier to subscribers or long distance companies for the use of its local exchange network facilities. [PSC]
 
Access Line - Central office line equipment, or equivalent, and all outside plant facilities, or equivalent, required to connect the serving central office with the customer premises via physical connection, frequency transmission, and/or time slot transmission. From an engineering perspective, a channel connection is at a DSO level. A DSO level is a 4 KHz voice channel or a 64 kilobits per second digital channel. [PSC]
 
Acid Rain - Also called acid precipitation or acid deposition, acid rain is precipitation containing harmful amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids formed primarily by nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned.
 
Acid Rain Program - Instituted as a part of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. The goal of the program is to achieve human and environmental health benefits by reducing the emissions that result in acid rain (i.e. nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide).
 
Acidic Nitrates/Sulfates - Sulfates and nitrates occur in particulate or droplet form. In the droplet form they are already sulfuric acid/nitric acid droplets. When dry particulate sulfate mixes with water, it becomes sulfuric acid; when dry particulate nitrate mixes with water it becomes nitric acid.
 
Adequacy (see Reliability)
 
Adjustment Bid - A bid that is used by the Independent System Operator (ISO) to adjust supply or demand when congestion on the transmission system is anticipated.
 
Adjustment Clause - A utility tariff provision that allows changes in electric rates charged a customer; these could result from increases or decreases in certain costs that the seller incurred, such as fuel costs.
 
Advanced Metering - Allows recording of actual electric use during minutes, hours, days or weeks useful for time-of-day, on-peak/off-peak or other billing rates.
 
Advocate - See Consumer Advocate
 
Affiliate - A company that is directly or indirectly controlled by, or shares the same owner, as another company.
 
Affiliated Power Producer - A company that generates power and is affiliated with a utility.
 
Affordability Programs
 
Aggregation - Forming a large group of consumers who together can bargain for the lowest possible rate.
 
Aggregators - A person or group that pools customers into a buying group for the purpose of increasing purchasing power. Retailers, customers, and brokers may also act as aggregators. [PSC]
 
Air Pollutants/Toxics - Those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects. Examples of toxic air pollutants include asbestos, benzene, dioxins, perchlorethlyene, methylene chloride, toluene, and metals such as cadmium, mercury, chromium, and lead compounds.
 
Alternative Electric Supplier - A supplier of electricity that owns or has title to electric generation and is not the company providing electric distribution and transmission services to the customer. [PSC]
 
Alternative Fuels - Other energy sources that can be substituted for the fuel in use (e.g., renewable energy sources represent viable alternatives to fossil fuels.
 
Alternative Operator Service Providers (AOS) - Nontraditional companies providing telephone operator services. Operator services involve operator assistance in placing a call. The most common services are alternative methods of paying for a call, such as: collect calling, charging the call to a third party, or paying by credit card (either a major credit card or telephone company calling card.)
 
AOS providers are resellers who also provide operator services to: payphones, hotels, and other locations used by travelers and the general public. [PSC]
 
American Public Power Association (APPA) - A national service organization representing 2000 municipal and other state or local publicly-owned electric utilities throughout the United States.
 
Analog - A type of transmission of voice or video where the signal is sent as a stream of changing radio waves and is similar to what is received. [PSC]
 
Analog Signal - A signal that varies in a continuous manner such as voice or music. An analog signal must be contrasted with a digital signal which can assume only discrete values. [PSC]
 
Ancillary Services - Necessary services that must be provided in the generation and delivery of electricity; they include coordination and scheduling services; automatic generation control; contractual agreements; and support of system integrity and security.
 
Annualization - The process of adjusting a utility compay's annual historical information to reflect a full 12-month period for known changes reasonably expected to continue into the future. Annualization adjustments are routinely made in the development of a utility company's total cost of service.
 
Anthracite - The highest rank of coal; used primarily for residential and commercial space heating; often referred to as hard coal.
 
Ash - Impurities consisting of silica, iron, alumina, and other noncombustible matter that are contained I coal.
 
Audit - A methodical examination and review of a utility company's books with intent to verify the appropriateness of the company's revenues and expenses, etc.
 
Available but not Needed Capability - Net capability of main generating units that are operable but not considered necessary to carry load, and cannot be connected to load within 30 minutes.
 
Available Transfer Capability (ATC) - The amount of capacity available on the transmission system for use by third-parties.
 
Availability Factor - A percentage representing the number of hours a generating unit is available to produce power (regardless of the amount of power) in a given period, compared to the number of hours in the period.
 
Average Cost - The revenue requirement of a utility divided by the utility's sales. Average cost typically includes the costs of existing power plants, transmission, and distribution lines, and other facilities used by a utility to serve its customers. It also includes operating and maintenance, tax, and fuel expenses.
 
Average Revenue per Kilowatt-hour - The average revenue per kilowatt-hour of electricity sold by sector (residential, commercial, industrial, or other) and geographic area (State, Census division and national), is calculated by dividing the total monthly revenue by the corresponding total monthly sales for each sector and geographic area.
 
Avoided Cost - The cost that a utility is expected to incur for its customers in providing (generation) service to its customer. This is the price paid by utilities to cogenerators in many states.
 
B
Back-Up Generation Service - An optional service for customers with demands greater than or equal to 75kW who wish to enhance their distribution system reliability through contracting with the company for the use of portable diesel or gas-fired backup generators. The service provides for backup generation if customers should ever experience a distribution-related outage.
 
Back-Up Supply Service (see Interconnected Operations Services)
 
Bandwidth - The capacity of a telecom line to carry signals.
 
Base Bill - A charge calculated through multiplication of the rate from the appropriate electric rate schedule by the level of consumption.
 
Base, Investment - The amount of money a utility has invested over the years in facilities (net of depreciation) which serve the customers; plus, the amount of working capital required to keep the company going.
 
Base load - A class of generating units that are assumed to run continuously through the year. Typically these units are only shut down for maintenance a few weeks each year. [PSC] The minimum amount of electric power delivered or required over a given period of time at a steady rate.
 
Base load Capacity - The generating equipment normally operated to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.
 
Base load Generation - Those generating facilities within a utility system that are operated to the greatest extent possible to maximize system mechanical and thermal efficiency and minimize system operating costs.
 
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.
 
Base Rate - That part of the total electric rate covering the general costs of doing business unrelated to fuel expenses. [See also Base, Investment]
 
Basic Services - The services necessary to physically deliver service including generation, transmission and distribution. Basic service charges include the temporary transition charge and the monthly customer charge. [see also POTS]
 
Best Available Control Technology (BACT) - BACT is generally specified as the most stringent emission level of these three alternative minimum requirements:
1) the most stringent emission control contained in any approved State Implementation Plan (SIP);
2) the most effective control achieved in practice; and
3) the most efficient emission control
  technique found by the district to be both technologically feasible and cost effective.
 
Bilateral Agreement - Written statement signed by a pair of communicating parties that specifies what data may be exchanged between them.
 
Bilateral Contract - A contractual system between a buyer and a seller to obtain generation and/or ancillary services of a given type, duration, timing and reliability over a contractual term.
 
Billing Cycle - The period of days in which a utility or supplier totals customer energy use and produces the customer bill, the regular schedule when the bill will be delivered to the customer, and the due date for the customer's payment to be received by the utility is commonly called the "billing cycle."
 
Bioenergy - Biomass used in the production of energy (electricity; liquid, solid, and gaseous fuels; and heat).
 
Biofuels - Wood, waste, and alcohol fuels produced from biomass (plant) feedstocks.
 
Biomass - Organic nonfossil material of biological origin constituting a renewable energy source.
 
Biopower - Releases the energy trapped in organic material or biomass. Biopower uses biomass energy to generate electricity.
 
Bituminous Coal - A dense coal, usually black, sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material, used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, with substantial quantities also used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke.
 
Black-Out - Refers to a condition when all electrical power is disrupted to your area.
 
Block Rates - Per unit price that will change according to customer usage level. Generally three types: Declining Block rate, Inverted Block Rate, and Promotional Block Rate.
 
Boiler - A device for generating steam for power, processing, or heating purposes or for producing hot water for heating purposes or hot water supply.
 
Bonds, Debenture - A form of long-term loan, including in debt capital, which is secured by the general credit worthiness of the utility.
 
Bonds, Mortgage - A form of long-term loan, included in debt capital, which is secured by the utility's property.
 
Bottleneck Facility - A point on the system, such as a transmission line, through which all electricity must pass to get to its intended buyers. If there is limited capacity at this point, some priorities must be developed to decide whose power gets through. It also must be decided if the owner of the bottleneck may, or must, build additional facilities to relieve the constraint.
 
Broadband - A descriptive term for evolving digital technologies that provide consumers a signal switched facility offering integrated access to voice, high-speed data service, video-demand services, and interactive delivery services.
 
Broker - An entity that arranges the sale and purchase of electric energy, transmission, and other services between buyers and sellers, but does not take title to any of the power sold.
 
Broker Systems - An electronic marketplace in which electric generation is priced and purchased.
 
Brown-Out - Refers to a condition when the system voltage drops below acceptable levels causing lights to dim and potentially causing other electrical equipment to function improperly or to be damaged.
 
Bulk Power Market - Purchases and sales of electricity among utilities.
 
Bulk Power Supply - Often this term is used interchangeably with wholesale power supply. In broader terms, it refers to the aggregate of electric generating plants, transmission lines, and related equipment.
 
Bundled Utility Service - All generation, transmission, and distribution services provided by one entity for a single charge. Includes ancillary services and retail services.
 
Bundling - Combining the cost of generation, transmission and distribution and other services into a single rate charged to the retail customer.
 
Burner Tip Price - When a natural gas fired furnace or stove is turned on, gas is burned to create heat. This burning of the fuel marks the end of a process that sent natural gas from places such as Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Canada, through interstate pipelines and through local distribution utility pipes to Wisconsin residences and businesses. The price paid for the gas that is burned is referred to as the "burner tip price". Since this is the end of the process, this price must reflect not only the cost of the natural gas itself, but also all the costs of finding, pumping, transporting, and delivering the gas.
 
Buy-Through - An agreement between utility and customer to import power when the customer's service would otherwise be interrupted.
 
Bypass - Refers generally to a customer obtaining service from a new supplier without utilizing any facility of the former supplier, i.e. bypassing the former supplier. Whereas the Federal Power Commission used to discourage bypass of local distribution companies ("LDC's"), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), under its "open access" policies since 1985, has reversed tht policy.
 
C
Call Option - An option that gives the buyer (holder) the right, but not the obligation, to buy a futures contract (enter into a long futures position) for a specified price within a specified period of time in exchange for a one-time premium payment. It obligates the seller (writer) of an option to sell the underlying futures contract (enter into a short futures position) at the designated price, should the option be exercised at that price. [see Put Option]
 
Capability - The maximum load that a generating unit, generating station, or other electrical apparatus can carry under specified conditions for a given period of time without exceeding approved limits of temperature and stress.
 
Capacitor - An electrical device that maintains or increases voltage in power lines.
 
Capacity - The amount of electric power delivered or required for which a generator, turbine, transformer, transmission circuit, station, or system is rated by the manufacturer.
 
Capacity (Purchased) - The amount of energy and capacity available for purchase fro outside the system.
 
Capacity Assignment - The assignment of a right to firm transportation (or storage) on an interstate pipeline to another entity.
 
Capacity Charge - An element in a two-part pricing method used in capacity transactions (energy charge is the other element); [See also Demand Charge]
 
Capacity Release - The sale of capacity (the right to transport natural gas) on interstate pipelines when it is not needed for core customers.
 
Capital - The money a utility has invested in its facilities.
 
Capital Cost - The cost of field development and plant construction and the equipment required for the generation of electricity.
 
Capital Intensive - A term expressing the fact that utilities need a comparatively large amount of money to build their systems in relation to annual revenues.
 
Capacity Factor - The ratio of the electrical energy produced by a generating unit for the period of time considered to the electrical energy that could have been produced at continuous full-power operation during the same period.
 
Capacity, Gross - The full-load continuous rating of a generator, prime mover, or other electric equipment under specified conditions as designated by the manufacturer. It is usually indicated on a nameplate attached to the equipment.
 
Capacity Release - A secondary market for capacity that is contracted by a customer which is not using all of its capacity.
 
Captive Customer - A customer who does not have realistic alternatives to buying power from the local utility, even if that customer had the legal right to buy from competitors.
 
Carbon Dioxide [See Greenhouse Gases]
 
Catalysis (Biocatalysis) - The chemical or biological process whereby the presence of an external compound, a catalyst, serves as an agent to cause a chemical reaction to occur or to improve reaction performance without altering the external compound.
 
Cellular Service - A form of wireless telephone that uses FM radio waves to transmit conversations. Cellular calls are transmitted using either digital or analog technology. Through analog transmission, your voice is actually carried on the airwaves. Digital transmission transforms the human voice into computer language, providing greater system capacity.
 
Cellular System - A high capacity land mobile radio system in which an assigned frequency spectrum is divided into discrete channels that are assigned to a cellular geographic serving area.
 
Central Office - A switching unit in a telephone system providing service to the general public, having the necessary equipment and operating arrangements for terminating and interconnecting lines and trunks.
 
Central Office Codes Referred to as prefixes.
 
Centrex - A service for customers with many stations that permits station-to-station dialing, one listed directory number for the customer, direct inward dialing to a particular station and station identification on outgoing calls. The switching functions are performed in a central office (stand alone, host or remote).
 
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) - An order issued by the Commission to permit the formation of a new utility, the expansion of an existing franchise area, or approval of a major capital investment to expand the ability of a utility to serve future customers.
 
Channel - An electrical communications path between two or more points. A single pair of wires may provide more than one channel. A channel may also be provided by microwave.
 
Cherry Picking - Describes how facilities-based CLECs often market only to high-density areas.
 
Circuit - A line that connects devices.
 
Circuit Breaker - A protective device located on an electric circuit to interrupt the flow of current at the particular point.
 
City Gate Station - The point at which a local gas utility receives gas from a pipeline company.
 
Classes of Customers - The different types of customers which a utility serves, usually four in number-residential, commercial, industrial, and others. The way the cost of service is allocated among the classes determines the rate structure.
 
Clean Air Act (CAA) - The Clean Air Act (CAA) is a federal statute that specifies National Ambient Air Quality Standards, sets emission limits for air pollutants and determines emission limits and operating criteria for a number of hazardous air pollutants. The program is implemented by individual states through a State Implementation Plan (SIP), which describes how that state will ensure compliance with the air quality standards for stationary sources
 
Clean Energy - Often refers to energy that comes from non-polluting ("zero emissions") sources. [see Green Power] [See also Renewable Energy]
 
Cloning - When a wireless phone has been programmed to duplicate another wireless phone. This is often used to mislead a wireless carrier by placing illegal calls without any intention of payment. The misleader uses the fake or "cloned" numbers until detected, placing as may calls as he or she can. Wireless phones which are 100% digital cannot be cloned.
 
Coal (see Anthracite, Bituminous Coal, Lignite, Sub bituminous Coal) - A readily combustible black or brownish-black rock whose composition, including inherent moisture, consists of more than 50 percent by weight and more than 70 percent by volume of carbonaceous material.
 
Coal Bed Methane - Gas obtained from coal seams. The single largest new source of gas supply in the past decade due to the application of new production technologies to this resource.
 
Coal Combustion By-Products - (CCBs) include several types of materials which are left over from the burning of coal: fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and flue gas desulphurization (FGD) materials (either wet or dry).
 
Coal Combustion Products (CCPs) [See Coal Combustion By-Products]
 
Coal-Fired Power Plant - Power plant in which coal is burned to produce steam which spins a turbine to produce electricity.
 
Co-Firing - Refers to the injection of natural gas with pulverized coal or oil into the primary combustion zone of a boiler.
 
Cogeneration (Cogen) - The production of electricity and useful thermal energy from the same energy source. Natural gas is the most common fuel in the conversion of waste heat to electricity.
 
Cogenerator - A generating facility that produces electricity and another form of useful thermal energy (such as heat or steam), used for industrial, commercial, heating, or cooling purposes.
 
Coincidental Demand - The sum of two or more demands that occur in the same time interval.
 
Coincidental Peak Load - The sum of two or more peak loads that occur in the same time interval.
 
Coke - A residue high in carbon content and low in hydrogen that is the final product of thermal decomposition in the condensation process in
 
Collocation - The placement of a CLEC's network equipment on the premises of the ILEC.
 
Combined Cycle Generation - A system that generates electricity using a gas turbine or a heat recovery boiler and a steam turbine in tandem.
 
Combined Cycle Unit - An electric generating unit that consists of one or more combustion turbines and one or more boilers with a portion of the required energy input to the boiler(s) provided by the exhaust gas of the combustion turbine(s).
 
Combined Pumped-Storage Plant - A pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant that uses both pumped water and natural stream flow to produce electricity.
 
Combustion Turbine - A type of unit used to generate electricity. These units come in a wide range of sizes (30-179 MW) and are generally used to serve peaking loads. The fuel (oil or natural gas) is mixed with air and ignited, causing a chemical reaction (combustion) used to spin the turbine. [See also Combined Cycle]
 
Commercial Customers - A class of utility customers which includes commercial business other than industrial.
 
Commercial Operation - Commercial operating begins when control of the loading of the generator is turned over to the system dispatcher.
 
Commercial Sector - Generally defined as nonmanufacturing business establishments, including hotels, motels, restaurants, wholesale businesses, retail stores, and health, social and educational institutions. A utility may classify commercial service as all consumers whose demand or annual use exceeds some specified limit.
 
Commodity Price - The price of gas at the site of production is referred to as the "commodity price" or wellhead price. Of all the cost components, natural gas commodity prices are by far the most unstable and the least predictable. It is clear that these prices move around quite a bit from month to month and from year to year. Natural gas price volatility is among the highest of all commodities that are traded on major market exchanges. The price can unexpectedly double in a matter of months. It can also tumble by 50 percent just as fast.
 
Common Carrier - The term used to describe a telephone company. A telecommunications company that holds itself out to the public for hire to provide transmission services.
 
Common Stock - Capital stock, other than preferred, which is bought by utility shareholders and becomes part of a utility's equity. Its value is determined in the marketplace, and its return is not a contracted rate as with preferred stock.
 
Competition - The lack of a monopoly in a market, evidenced by the presence of two or more entities providing for economic choice in buying, selling, or exchanging goods and services.
 
Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) - A business authorized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that can deliver alternative dial-tone and other services using an incumbent carrier's equipment. Co-Provider is another term for CLEC.
Competitive Power Supplier - A company that sells power, which is delivered by the distribution company serving a community. Competitive power suppliers are sometimes called electricity suppliers, electricity providers, power generators, or power marketers.
 
Competitive Transition Assessment (CTA) - The part of a consumer's electric bill that allows the electric distribution company to recover stranded costs.
 
Competitive Transition Charge - A non-bypassable charge levied on each customer of a distribution utility, including those who are served under contracts with nonutility suppliers, for recovery of a utility's transition costs.
 
Complaint - Complaint means a statement or question by any person, whether a utility customer or not, concerning a wrong grievance, injury, dissatisfaction, illegal action or procedure, dangerous condition or action, or failure of a utility to meet a utility obligation.
 
Compressor Station - A facility which supplies the energy to move gas in transmission lines or into storage fields by increasing the pressure. Most compressor stations employ natural gas-fired internal combustion engines to drive the compressors.
 
Conductor - A substance or body that allows an electric current to pass continuously along it. A wire.
 
Conduit - A duct designed to contain underground cables, conductors, and wires.
 
Congestion - A condition that occurs when insufficient transfer capacity is available to implement all of the preferred schedules for electricity transmission simultaneously.
 
Conjunctive Billing - The combination of the quantities of energy, demand or other items of two or more meters or services into respective single quantities for the purpose of billing, as if the bill were for a single meter or service.
 
Connection Charge - A fee demanded of customers for the cost of hooking up to new service.
 
Conservation - Actions taken to reduce or more efficiently use energy, in an effort to preserve the environment and avoid depletion of energy resources.
 
Conservation Cost Recovery Charge -
 
Consumer Advocate - An individual appointed by the Public Service Commission to study rate cases and other official filings of utilities, and to plead the cause for residential consumers when the consumer advocate believes the residential consumer is being, or may be, treated unfairly.
 
Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) - An annual report that utilities must provide to their customers which details specific water quality and related information concerning the utility's source of supply.
 
Consumption (Fuel) - The amount of fuel used for gross generation, providing standby service, start-up and/or flame stabilization.
 
Contract Demand (CD) - The quantity of gas the seller and buyer agree to on a daily, monthly or yearly basis as specified in a sales contract. Volumes of gas taken over and above this amount are known as overrun.
 
Contract Path - The most direct physical transmission tie between two interconnected entities. When utility systems interchange power, the transfer is presumed to take place across the "contract path" notwithstanding the electrical fact that power flow in the network will distribute in accordance with network flow conditions. This term can also mean to arrange for power transfer between systems. [See also Parallel Path Flow]
 
Contract Price - Price of fuels marketed on a contract basis covering a period of 1 of more years. Contract prices reflect market conditions at the time the contract was negotiated and therefore remain constant throughout the life of the contract or are adjusted through escalation clauses. Generally, contract prices do not fluctuate widely.
 
Contract Receipts - Purchases based on a negotiated agreement that generally covers a period of 1 or more years.
 
Contract Terms - The agreement between a competitive power supplier and a consumer, including the cost, length of service, and whether there are penalties for early termination.
 
Co-op/Cooperative - A business entity similar to a corporation, except that ownership is vested in members rather than stockholders, and benefits are in the form of products and services rather than profits. Co-ops typically become involved in ancillary services such as energy conservation, load management and other demand-side management programs in order to serve their customers at least cost. Many rural and remote areas are served by electric cooperatives formed to provide power to communities not served or under-served by utilities.
 
Co-Provider - [See Competitive Local Exchange Carrier]
 
Cordless Phone - A type of telephone set that offers customers portability in their premises. They send radio signals from a base unit to the handset and from the handset back to the base. Signals from cordless phones can be picked up by a number of other devices including radio scanners, baby monitors, radios and other cordless phones.
 
Core/Non-Core Customers - A core customer means a residential or small commercial customer who typically must take additional distributor-bundled service of sales and transportation. Non-core refers to large commercial and industrials customers with sufficient gas volume to purchase gas supplies and capacity from suppliers other than the local utility.
 
Cost- The amount paid to acquire resources, such as plant and equipment, fuel, or labor services.
 
Cost Allocation - The process of assigning the costs for the generation, transmission and/or distribution of electricity among industrial, commercial, and residential customers.
 
Cost-Based Rates - Electric rates (either wholesale or retail) set on the basis of a utility's actual cost of service.
 
Cost Based Pricing - Electric service prices determined by adding the costs associated with serving an individual customer (or the average cost of serving a group of similar customers) to an allowed return on investment.
 
Cost of Capital - The amount of return it costs a utility to obtain capital from lenders and shareholders.
 
Cost of Service - The total cost of providing utility service. The cost components include operating expenses, depreciation, taxes and a rate of return adequate to service investment capital. Cost of service is synonymous with the revenue requirements of the system/company.
 
Cost-of-Service Ratemaking/Regulation - Traditional electric utility regulation under which a utility is allowed to set rates based on the cost of providing service to customers and the right to earn a limited profit.
 
Cost-of-Service Study- A detailed analysis of the way a utility allocates the cost of serving different classes of customers.
 
Cramming - A practice in which customers are billed for enhanced features such as voice mail, caller-ID and call-waiting that they have not ordered.
 
Criteria Pollutant - A pollutant determined to be hazardous to human health and regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The 1970 amendments to the Clean Air Act require EPA to describe the health and welfare impacts of a pollutant as the "criteria" for inclusion in the regulatory regime.
 
Cross-Subsidization - The transfer of assets or services from the regulated portion of an electric utility to its unregulated affiliates to produce an unfair competitive advantage. Cross-subsidization can also refer to one rate class (such as industrial customers) subsidizing the rates of another class (such as residential customers).
 
Current (Electric) - A flow of electrons in an electrical conductor. The strength or rate of movement of the electricity is measured in amperes.
 
Curtailment - A method to balance a utility's natural gas requirements with its natural gas supply. Typically, there is a hierarchy of customers for the curtailment plan. A customer may be required to partially cut back or totally eliminate his take of gas depending on the severity of the shortfall between gas supply and demand and the customer's position in the hierarchy.
 
Custom Calling Features - Optional services that are meant to help customers make better use of their telephone service. Examples include call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling and voice mail available from the local telephone company at additional monthly rates. The menu of custom-calling features varies by local company. Not all companies offer the same services and the names of the features may also differ.
 
Customer - The party responsible for payment of bills issued for use of utility service at a given premise.
 
Customer Assistance Programs (CAPS) - Alternative collection programs set up between a utility company and customers that allow customers to pay utility bills on a percentage-of-the-bill they owe or percentage-of-customer-income instead of paying the full amount owed.
 
Customer Charge - A recurring charge which allows utilities to recover fixed costs associated with providing utility service. These include the costs associated with the installation and maintenance of the distribution systems for each utility service, meters and their maintenance, and the costs for maintaining customer records, billing and collection. This may also be referred to as a service charge.
 
Customer Choice - The ability of electricity consumers to select the company which supplies their power generation; and the laws and regulations that enable this choice to occur through the elimination of monopoly status for utilities.
 
Customer Classes - Utility customer classes include residential, commercial, industrial, and electric generation.
 
CWIP - Construction work in progress; those utility facilities which are under construction but not yet completed to the point they supply service.
 
D
Daily Peak - The maximum amount of energy or service demanded (used) in one day from a company or utility service.
 
Date Certain - The establishment of a specific date by which restructuring efforts are to be implemented.
 
Day-Ahead Market - The forward market for energy and ancillary services to by supplied during the settlement period of a particular trading day that is conducted by the Independent System Operator (ISO), the power exchange, and other Scheduling Coordinators. This market closes with the ISO's acceptance of the final day-ahead schedule.
 
Day-Ahead Schedule - A schedule prepared by a Scheduling Coordinator or the Independent System Operator before the beginning of a trading day. This schedule indicates the levels of generation and demand scheduled for each settlement period that trading day.
 
Debentures - A form of long-term loan, included in debt capital, which is secured by the general credit worthiness of the utility.
 
Debenture Bonds - Same as debentures.
 
Debt or Debt Capital - Borrowed money a utility uses to finance the facilities needed to provide service.
 
Debt, Short-Term- A sum of money borrowed directly from banks with a due date of less than one year. It may or may not be considered part of a utility's debt capital.
 
Debt, Long-Term - A sum of money borrowed through the selling of mortgage bonds or debentures and repaid over a specified time, greater than one year.
 
Decommissioning - The safe and orderly permanent shutdown of a utility plant; often used in reference to nuclear facilities.
 
Decoupling - A regulatory process for determining the total revenue needed to cover the costs of a utility in which the actual or projected level of sales is disassociated ("decoupled") from the revenues derived.
 
Default Provider - Any entity that, in the transition to retail, competition and under retail competition, provides electric generation services for customers who fail or are unable to make their own arrangements for electric generation services.
 
Default Service - A basic level of electricity service, which provides a consumer with a continuous supply of power based on a fixed rate.
 
Deferred Payment Agreement - An agreement between the utility and its customer to pay an amount owing in installments. The amount owing may be a deposit, a current unpaid bill or a final bill on a previous account. The installments are paid in addition to bills for current utility service.
 
Degree-Days - A formula to calculate heating or cooling value. A common calculation would be to add a particular day's high and low temperatures, divide by two, and subtract that average temperature from a base level (the National Weather Service uses 65 degrees for heating).
 
Deintegration (see Disaggregation)
 
Deliverability - The volume of gas or oil a well, field, pipeline or distribution system can supply at a particular pressure for a 24-hour period. Also refers to available capacity on a pipeline system or the pipeline's ability to move gas from producing fields to market.
 
Delivery Charge - Charge imposed by the local electric utility for delivering electricity to a consumer's home or business. The charge includes maintaining the system reliability and responding during emergencies and outages (also called distribution).
 
Demand - Instantaneous usage of electricity.
[PSC] The amount of electricity, expressed in kilowatts, that is required by customers at a given point in time. [AARP] The rate at which energy is delivered to loads and scheduling points by generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.
 
Demand (Electric) - The rate at which electric energy is delivered to or by a system, part of a system, or piece of equipment, at a given instant or averaged over any designated period of time.
 
Demand Bid - A bid into the power exchange indicating a quantity of energy or an ancillary service that an eligible customer is willing to purchase and, if relevant, the maximum price that the customer is willing to pay.
 
Demand Charge - That part of the charge for utility service based upon the utility capacity (kW) consumed and billed on the basis of billing demand under an applicable rate schedule. [See also Capacity Charge]
 
Demand Contract - A contract under which a purchaser reserves a set maximum daily quantity of pipeline capacity.
 
Demand-Side Management (DSM) - The planning, implementation, and monitoring of utility activities designed to encourage consumers to modify patterns of electricity usage, including the timing and level of electricity demand. It refers only to energy and load-shape modifying activities that are undertaken in response to utility-administered programs. It does not refer to energy and load-shape changes arising from the normal operation of the marketplace or from government-mandated energy-efficiency standards.
 
Demand-Side Program - A utility-designed approach to provide information or financial incentives to customers that leads customers to modify their use of electricity. Customers can modify their use of electricity by either changing a practice or by changing equipment. For example, a customer could set his thermostat higher in the summer or install a high-efficiency air conditioner. Both changes would reduce the amount of electricity used to cool the customer's home.
 
Demonstration- The application and integration of a new product or service into an existing or new system. Most commonly, demonstration involves the construction and operation of a new electric technology interconnected with the electric utility system to demonstrate how it interacts with the system.
 
Denied or Refused Service - The disconnection of current utility service or the utility's refusal to provide new service to an applicant. The PSC administrative code details the specific reasons a utility may deny or refuse service to its customers.
 
Depreciation - An accounting mechanism whereby the estimated value of a utility's facilities is devalued over a specified time.
Charges made against income to provide for distributing the cost of depreciable plant less estimated net salvage over the estimated useful life of the asset in such a way as to allocate it as equitably as possible to the period during which such services are obtained from the use of the facilities. Among the factors to consider are: wear and tear, decay, inadequacy, obsolescence, changes in demand and requirements of public authorities.
 
Depreciation Study - A study performed to analyze the service characteristics of the depreciable utility plant in service of a utility or other entity. Using these characteristics, annual accrual percentages are recommended for each depreciable account of utility plant in service for approval by the governing regulatory agency.
 
Deregulation - 1. Less government oversight.
2. The elimination or relaxation of regulations governing an industry or sector of an industry.

 
Derivatives - A specialized security or contract that has no intrinsic overall value, but whose value is based on an underlying security or factor as an index. A generic term that, in the energy field, may include options, futures, forwards, etc.
 
Dial Around - Long distance services that require consumers to dial a long-distance provider's access code (or "10-10" number) before dialing a long-distance number to bypass or "dial around" the consumer's chosen long-distance carrier in order to get a better rate.
 
Dialing parity - The ability of CLEC customers to dial numbers in the same manner that ILEC customers do, without the need to use special access codes.
 
Digital Signal - A signal that has a limited number of discrete states. This may be contrasted with an analog signal that varies in a continuous manner and may have an infinite number of states.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) - A high-bandwidth, copper wire technology primarily for data.
 
Direct Access - The ability of a retail customer to purchase electricity from another supplier and then have the local distribution company deliver the power over its transmission and distribution system for a fee. (E.g. retail open access, open access). [See also Retail Wheeling].
 
Directory Assistance - A service provided by telephone companies to their customers whereby customers may access directory assistance operators to obtain telephone numbers.
 
Disaggregation - The functional separation of the vertically integrated utility into smaller, individually owned business units (i.e. generation, dispatch/control, transmission, distribution). The terms "deintegration," "disintegration" and "delamination" are sometimes used to mean the same thing. (See also Divestiture)
 
Disconnection- A direct action by a utility to terminate service. Does not include a customer-requested termination of service.
 
Discount Rate - The interest rate used to assess the value of future cost and revenue streams; an essential factor in assessing true returns from an investment in energy efficiency, as well as opportunity costs associated with not making that investment.
 
Distributed Generation - The strategic placement of small-scale power generation units at or near the site where the electric power will be consumed.
 
Distribution - The delivery of electricity to retail customers (including homes, businesses, etc.). [See also Delivery Charge]
 
Distribution Charges - Basic service charges for delivering electricity over a distribution system to a home or business from the transmission system.
 
Distribution Company [See Local Distribution Utility (LDU]
 
Distribution Line - one or more circuits of a distribution system either direct-buried, in conduit or on the same lie of poles or supporting structures, operating at relatively low voltage as compared with transmission lines.
 
Distribution Service - The delivery of electricity through local, low-voltage wires to end-use consumers from high-voltage transmission lines.
 
Distribution System - The portion of an electric system that is dedicated to delivering electric energy to an end user.
 
Distribution Utility - The regulated electric utility entity that constructs and maintains the distribution wires connecting the transmission grid to the final customer.
 
District Heating - The use of waste hot water used in energy production to heat hospitals, schools, homes, etc.,by pumping through pipe network system.
 
Divestiture - 1. The requirement that an electric utility separate its generation services from its transmission and distribution services and that it then legally transfer ownership and control of all generation-related assets to a non-affiliated company. Divestiture of generation services is one of three often-mentioned policy options for protecting consumers from the disadvantages of market power (the others are functional separation and structural separation). 2. The term (rare) also can refer to the transfer of ownership and control of a utility's transmission or distribution functions to a non-affiliated interest. [AARP] The stripping off of one utility function from the others by selling (spinning-off) or in some other way changing the ownership of the assets related to that function. Stripping off is most commonly associated with spinning-off generation assets so they are no longer owned by the shareholders that own the transmission and distribution assets.
 
Dividend - A corporate distribution to shareholders, usually from earnings and usually in cash.
 
Downstream - Any point in the direction of flow of a liquid or gas from the reference point. Generally considered to be distribution and sales.
 
E
Easement - Rights-of-way (R/W) and easements are defined as the right to pass over, through, or underneath property owned by another party or a right afforded to a person to make limited use of another's real property. The most typical type of right-of-way is granted in the form of blanket and private easements. A blanket easement may be granted by a municipality to a utility for installing their facilities on road rights-of-way. In the case of a private easement, the landowner grants the utility permission to install a cable or building facility on the privately owned property. This easement is filed with the county register of deeds and will appear on the property deed. [PSC]
 
Economic Efficiency - A term that refers to the optimal production and consumption of goods and services. This generally occurs when prices of products and services reflect their marginal costs.
 
Economies of Scale - The ability of a utility to spread costs over a large customer base.
 
Electric Capacity - The ability of a power plant to produce a given output of electric energy at an instant in time, measured in kilowatts or megawatts (1,000 kilowatts). [See Energy]
 
Electric Cooperative - A member-owned electric utility company that generates and purchases wholesale power, arranges the transmission of that power, and then distributes the power to serve the demand of rural customers on a non-profit basis. [PSC]
 
Electric Distribution Company (EDC) - The public utility providing facilities for the transmission and distribution of electricity to retail customers.
 
Electric Generation Supplier (EGS) - A firm or company that sells to end-use customers electricity or related services using the transmission or distribution facilities of an electric distribution company.
 
Electric Power Generation - The large-scale production of electricity in a central plant.
 
Electric Industry Reregulation - The design and implementation of regulatory practices to be applied to the remaining traditional utilities after the electric power industry has been restructured. Reregulation applies to those entities that continue to exhibit characteristics of a natural monopoly.
 
Electric Meter/Interval Meter - A device that measures the amount of electricity a customer uses. The primary types of electric meters are energy meters, demand meters, interval demand meters, and time-of-use meters.
 
Electric Plant (Physical) - A facility containing prime movers, electric generators, and auxiliary equipment for converting mechanical, chemical, and/or fission energy into electric energy.
 
Electric Power - The rate at which electric energy is transferred. Electric power is measured by capacity and is commonly expressed in megawatts (MW).
 
Electric Power Sector - An energy-consuming sector that consists of all utility and nonutility facilities and equipment used to generate, transmit, and/or distribute electricity.
 
Electric Rate Schedule - A statement of the electric rate and the terms and conditions governing its application, including attendant contract terms and conditions that have been accepted by a regulatory body with appropriate oversight authority.
 
Electric Related Service - A service that is directly related to the consumption of electricity by an end user.
 
Electric Restructuring - The separation of the generation portion of the electric industry to open it to competitive electric suppliers.
 
Electric Service Provider - An entity that provides electric service to a retail or end-use customer.
 
Electric Supplier - An entity (including an electric aggregator or participating municipal electric utility) licensed to provide electric generation services to consumers.
 
Electric Supply Charge - The charge for a supply of electricity. Includes the cost of the generated energy plus any mark-ups and additional charges applied before it is received by the customer.
 
Electric System - A term used to describe electric transmission and distribution as one complete system.
 
Electric System Reliability - The degree to which the performance of the elements of the electrical system results in power being delivered to consumers within accepted standards and in the amount desired. Reliability encompasses two concepts, adequacy and security. Adequacy implies that there are sufficient generation and transmission resources installed and available to meet projected electrical demand plus reserves for contingencies. Security implies that the system will remain intact operationally (i.e.will have sufficient available operating capacity) even after outages or other equipment failure. The degree of reliability may be measured by the frequency, duration, and magnitude of adverse effects on consumer service.
 
Electric Technologies - See Renewable Electric Technologies
 
Electric Transmission - The delivery of electricity from a generator to a local distribution company over high-voltage power lines.
 
Electric Utility - Any regulated entity that owns and/or operates facilities for the generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity, and has the exclusive right, within a defined geographic area, to sell customers these services. Facilities that qualify as cogenerators or small power producers under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) are not considered electric utilities.
 
Electric Utility Divestiture - The separation of one electric utility function from others through the selling of the management and ownership of the assets related to that function. It is most commonly associated with selling generation assets so they are no longer owned or controlled by the shareholders that own the company's transmission and distribution assets.
 
Electric Utility Restructuring - Entails the introduction of competition into at least the generation phase of electricity production, with a corresponding decrease in regulatory control. Restructuring may also modify or eliminate other traditional aspects of investor-owned utilities, including their exclusive franchise to serve a given geographical area, assured rates of return, and vertical integration of the production process.
 
Electric Zone - A portion of the grid controlled by the independent system operator. [See Independent System Operator]
 
Electricity Broker - An entity that arranges the sale and purchase of electric energy, the transmission of electricity, and/or other related services between buyers and sellers but does not take title to any of the power sold.
 
Electricity Capacity- The maximum load of electric power, commonly expressed in megawatts (MW), by which generators, turbines, transformers, transmission circuits, stations, or systems are rated.
 
Electricity Congestion - A condition that occurs when insufficient transmission capacity is available to implement all of the desired transactions simultaneously.
 
Electricity Demand - The rate at which energy is delivered to loads and scheduling points by generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.
 
Electricity Demand Bid - A bid into the power exchange indicating a quantity of energy or an ancillary service that an eligible customer is willing to purchase and, if relevant, the maximum price that the customer is willing to pay. [See Ancillary Service]
 
Electricity Generation - The process of producing electric energy or the amount of electric energy produced by transforming other forms of energy, commonly expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) or megawatt hours (MWh).
 
Electricity Generator - A producer and operator of an electric power generating plant.
 
Electrification - Term describing emerging electric technologies such as electric vehicles, industrial process heating, and automation. These technologies have the potential for increasing the productivity, contributing to strategic load growth, or facilitating strategic conservation, peak clipping or load shifting.
 
Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) - Energy fields that result from the existence and movement of electric charges. Electromagnetic fields occur naturally and can also be created.
 
Embedded Cost - A cost which can no longer be avoided or minimized by the curtailment or reduction of output, because it already has been incurred in some historical period of time, and cannot be varied.
 
Emission- The release or discharge of a substance into the environment; in the context of global climate change, they consist of radioactively important greenhouse gases (e.g. the release of carbon dioxide during fuel combustion). Generally refers to the release of gases or particulates into the air.
 
Emissions Coefficient - A unique value for scaling emissions to activity data in terms of a standard rate of emissions per unit of activity (e.g. pounds of carbon dioxide emitted per Btu of fossil fuel consumed)
 
Emission [reduction] Credits - A market-based air quality management tool used to encourage businesses to proactively reduce air pollution at their facilities and improve regional air quality. The pollution "credits" must result from voluntary action taken by a business to step beyond existing air quality regulations when reducing emissions at their facilities. Once approved, ERCs can be banked by a company and used at a later date when seeking to expand the business, or the ERCs can be traded as a valuable commodity through the public market to companies who need to reduce regional emissions but are limited at their facility. Emission credits can be generated for the five criteria pollutants: nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, sulfur oxides and carbon monoxide.
 
Emissions Trading - Emissions trading is a regulatory program that allows firms the flexibility to select cost-effective solutions to achieve established environmental goals. With emissions trading, firms can meet established emissions goals by: (a) reducing emissions from a discrete emissions unit; (b) reducing emissions from another place within the facility; or (c) securing emission reductions from another facility.
 
End-Use- Breakdown, or categories, of electricity use based on what the electricity is used for. For example, space heating, water-heating, motors, lighting, refrigeration are all end-use categories.
 
End-Use Sectors- Discontinued. [See Energy-Use Sectors]
 
Energy - Usage of electricity over time. [PSC]
The capacity for doing work as measured by the capability of doing work (potential energy) or the conversion of this capability to motion (kinetic energy). Energy has several forms, some of which are easily convertible and can be changed to another form useful for work.
 
Energy Charge- That portion of the charge for electric service based upon the electric energy (kWh) consumed or billed..
 
Energy Consumption - The use of energy as a source of heat or power or as a raw material input to a manufacturing process.
 
Energy Costs - Costs, such as fuel, related to and vary with energy production or consumption.
 
Energy Demand - The requirement for energy as an input to provide products and services.
 
Energy Deliveries- Energy generated by one electric utility system and delivered to another system through one or more transmission lines.
 
Energy Efficiency ratio (EER) - Refers to programs that are aimed at reducing the energy used by specific end-use devices and systems, typically without affecting the services provided.
 
Energy Exchange - Any transaction in which quantities of energy are received or given up in return for similar energy products.
 
Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT) - The energy Policy Act of 1992 addresses a wide variety of energy issues. The legislation creates a new class of power generators, exempt wholesale generators, that are exempt from the provisions of the Public Holding Company Act of 1935 and grants the authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to order and condition access by eligible parties to the interconnected transmission grid.
 
Energy Receipts - Energy generated by one electric utility system and received by another system through one or more transmission lines.
 
Energy Reserves - Estimated quantities of energy sources that are demonstrated to exist with reasonable certainty on the basis of geologic and engineering data (proved reserves) or that can reasonably be expected to exist on the basis of geologic evidence that supports projections from proved reserves (probably/indicated reserves).
 
Energy Sales - The transfer of title to an energy commodity from a seller to a buyer for a price or the quantity transferred during a specified period.
 
Energy Services Company - Entity which delivers energy efficiency services to consumers.
 
Energy Source - The primary source that provides the power that is converted to electricity through chemical, mechanical, or other means. Energy sources include coal, petroleum and petroleum products, gas, water, uranium, wind sunlight, geothermal, and other sources.
 
Energy Supply - Energy made available for future disposition. Supply can be considered ad measured from the point of view of the energy provider or the receiver.
 
Energy-Use Sectors - A group of major energy-consuming components of U.S. society developed to measure and analyze energy use. The sectors most commonly referred to are: residential, commercial, industrial, transportation, and electric power.
 
Enhanced Service Providers - A for-profit business that offers to transmit voice and data messages and simultaneously adds value to the messages it transmits, e.g. telephone answering services, alarm/security companies and transaction processing companies.
 
Environmental Externalities - Environmental costs associated with the provision of a good or service which may or may not be incorporated in the internal cost measurements of the provider. Such costs are sometimes imputed theoretically to represent unmeasured costs to society associated with the use of the good or service.
 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - A thorough study of each proposed electric utility project with potential for significant environmental impacts, including evaluation of alternatives and mitigation.
 
Equal Access - The ability of the subscriber to use any long distance service by dialing the same number of digits.
 
Examiner, Hearing - [See Hearing Examiner]
 
Exhaust - An area code reaches exhaust when all of the telephone prefixes within that area code are assigned.
 
Exchange - A defined area served by one or more central offices regardless of technical serving arrangements within which the company furnishes service at rates and rules prescribed for that area in the company's filed tariffs. The area is not necessarily marked by political boundaries or the location of host or remote switching units.
 
Exchange Agreement - A contractual agreement in which quantities of crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas, or electricity are delivered, either directly or through intermediaries, from one company to another company, in exchange for the delivery by the second company to the first company of an equivalent volume or heat content. The exchange may take place at the same time and location or at different times and/or locations. Such agreements may also involve the payment of cash.
 
Exchange Boundaries - Defines the area connected to a particular telephone company switch. In the early days of telephone service, switches were generally located in cities or villages and the lines extended in all directions until they encountered customers receiving service from the opposite direction. Eventually, companies defined their exchanges so that customer service requests could be met and facilities could be planned and constructed to meet expected needs.
 
Exchange, Electricity - A type of energy exchange in which one electric utility agrees to supply electricity to another. Electricity received is returned in kind at a later time or is accumulated as an energy balance until the end of a specific period, after which settlement may be made by monetary payment.
 
Exchange, Natural Gas - A type of energy exchange in which one company agrees to deliver gas, either directly or through intermediaries, to another company at one location or in time period in exchange for the delivery by the second company to the first company of an equivalent volume or heat content at a different location or time period.
 
Exempt Wholesale Generator (EWG) - Created under the 1992 Energy Policy Act, these wholesale generators are exempt from certain financial and legal restriction stipulated in the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935.
 
Expenses, Utility - The money the utility spends during its test year for rates and benefits for its employees, for maintenance, for customer service, for materials and supplies, for fuel, for administration of the company, taxes, etc…
 
Extended Area Service (EAS) - The ability of a customer to call customers in other exchanges at no additional charge or at an additional charge per tariff.
 
Extended Community Calling (ECC) -The ability of a customer to call customers in other exchanges at rates usually above EAS rates but below toll rates for comparable distances. Rates generally include a duration element.
 
Externalities - Benefits or costs, generated as a byproduct of an economic activity, that do not accrue to the parties involved in the activity. Environmental externalities are benefits or costs that manifest themselves through changes in the physical or biological environment. [See also Environmental Externalities]
 
F
Facility - ELECTRIC: An existing or planned location or site at which prime movers, electric generators, and/or equipment for converting mechanical, chemical, and/or nuclear energy into electric energy are situated, or will be situated. A facility may contain more than one generator of either the same or different prime mover type. For a cogenerator, the facility includes the industrial or commercial process.

NATURAL GAS: All parts of a pipeline or pipeline system through which gas moves in transportation, including, but not limited to, pipe, valves, and other appurtenance attached to pipe, compressor units, metering stations, regulator stations, delivery stations, holders, and fabricated assemblies.


 
Fair Market Value - Generally the term applies to the amount that a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. Because of the predominant use of original cost in the rate base and the constraints that original cost factors place on the rates that ay be charged, the depreciated book cost of utility plant may be a prominent factor in establishing fair market value for a utility system.
 
Fair Value - A term normally used in those jurisdictions that by statute, or regulatory precedent, allow the rate base to be expressed at a level other than the recorded original cost amounts.
 
Feature Group A - Line-side originating and terminating LATA access for which an originating subscriber dials an assigned telephone number that connects to a specific interexchange carrier (IC). The IC returns a tone to signal the caller to input additional generating digits of the called number.
 
Feature Group B - Trunk-side originating and terminating LTA access for which an originating subscriber dials a 950-WXXX number (where W=0, 1 and XXX is the carrier access code (CAC), which is translated to a specific XXX carrier trunk group. Optional rotary dial service and ANI may be available.
Feature Group C - Trunk-side LATA access for AT&T Communications generally on a direct basis between each end office (EO) and an AT&T-C switching system.
 
Feature Group D - Also referred to as equal access. It is trunk-side LATA access affording call supervision of an interexchange carrier, a uniform access code (10XXXXX), optional calling party identification, recording of access-charge billing details and presubscription to a customer specified interexchange carrier.
 
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - The FCC has ultimate jurisdiction over telephone number administration.
 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) - An independent federal agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that has jurisdiction over rates, terms and conditions of the transmission and the wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce. It also licenses and inspects private, municipal and state hydroelectric projects and oversees related environmental matters.
 
Federal Power Act - Enacted in 1920, and amended in 1935, the Act consists of three parts. The first part incorporated the Federal Water Power Act administered by the former Federal Power Commission, who activities were confined almost entirely to licensing non-Federal hydroelectric projects. Parts II and III were added with the passage of the Public Utility Act.
 
Federal Power Commission - The predecessor agency of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Federal Power Commission (FPC) was created by an Act of Congress under the Federal Water Power Act on June 10, 1920. It was charged originally with regulating the electric power and natural gas industries. The FPC was abolished n September 20, 1977, when the Department of Energy was created. The functions of the FPC were divided between the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
 
Federal Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) - SLC is a federally-approved monthly fee paid by the telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of the investment and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles, and other facilities that link a home or business to the telephone network. These wires, poles, and other facilities are referred to as the "local loop". The SLC is one component of access charges.
 
Feed Stocks - Wood waste (whitewood, bark and shavings) and sugar cane biogases.
 
FERC Order 380 - Issued in 1983, invalidated contract requirements that a gas utility pay a pipeline for a certain amount of gas even if it could not take the gas.
 
FERC Order 436 - Issued in April of 1985, set up a voluntary open-access transportation program that allowed pipelines to offer transportation service not linked to gas sales service, making it easier for utilities and gas customers to purchase gas directly from producers and marketing companies and have it transported by pipelines.
 
FERC Order 451 - Issued in 1987, provided the opportunity for sellers of gas from older wells to receive a more market-sensitive price.
 
FERC Order 500 - Issued in late 1989, was an addendum to FERC Order 436 and provided mechanisms for settling certain contract liabilities incurred by pipelines that could not take all of the gas they had ordered from producers.
 
FERC Order 636 - In 1992 the FERC ordered that required pipelines unbundle their transportation, sales and storage services in order to increase competition. Its biggest impact was to convert pipelines from being sellers of gas to being primarily shippers of gas that is bought ad sold by other parties. [See also National Gas Policy Act]
 
FERC 888 - Open transmission access rulemaking. Promotes wholesale competition through open access and non-discriminatory transmission service by public utilities. Requirements of FERC 888 include the identification of stranded costs by public utilities and transiting utilities for recovery, unbundling of costs, and separating marketing functions from transmission operations.
 
FERC 889 - Requirements of FERC 889 include the creation of nation-wide information sharing system. Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS) is a computer information system on the Internet created to allow utilities/power marketers to make reservations on transmission systems across the nation.
 
Federal Poverty Income Guidelines - are the administrative version of the poverty measure and are issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They are a simplification of the poverty thresholds and are used to determine eligibility for poverty programs. Poverty guidelines are issued at the beginning of each year, generally in February or March.,
 
Federal Power Act - Enacted in 1920, and amended in 1935, the Act consists of three parts. The first part incorporated the Federal Water Power Act administered by the former Federal Power Commission, who activities were confined almost entirely to licensing non-Federal hydroelectric projects. Parts II and III, added with the passage of the Public Utility Act, extended the Act's jurisdiction to include regulating the interstate transmission of electrical energy and rates for its sale as wholesale in interstate commerce.
 
FERC (see Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
 

Fiber Optics - A technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data. A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.

Fiber optics has several advantages over traditional metal communications lines:

Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data.
Fiber optic cables are less susceptible than metal cables to interference.
Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires.
Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically.
 

Firm Gas - Gas sold on a continuous and generally long-term contract.
 
Firm Obligation - A commitment to supply electric energy or to make capacity available at any time specified during the period covered by the commitment.
 
Firm Power - Power or power-producing capacity intended to be available at all times during the period covered by a guaranteed commitment to deliver, even under adverse conditions.
 
Firm Purchase - A purchase of electricity or natural gas by one utility from another under contract, arranged in advance of delivery.
 
Firm Service Contract - A type of contracted service where the distributor agrees to provide the buyer with uninterrupted supply of gas.
 
Firm Transmission Service - Point-to-point transmission service that is reserved or scheduled for a term of one year or more.
 
Fixed Costs - Costs that do not change or vary with usage, output or production.
 
Fixed Price - A price which remains the same, usually for a set time period.
 
Flat Rate/Fixed Rate - A rate schedule that provides for a specified per-unit charge for goods and services that does not vary with changes in the amount used, volume consumed, or units purchased.
 
Flex-Rate Contract - A short-term utility service contract which allows for adjustable rates.
 
Flexible Rate - An economic incentive rate that allows a local distribution company to negotiate discounted costs with industrial or large commercial customers.
 
Flue Gas Desulphurization Unit (Scrubber) - Equipment used to remove sulfur oxides from the combustion gases of a boiler plant before discharge to the atmosphere. Chemicals, such as lime, are used as the scrubbing media.
 
Flue Gas Particulate Collectors - Equipment used to remove fly ash from the combustion gases of a boiler plant before discharge to the atmosphere. Particulate collectors include electrostatic precipitators; mechanical collectors (cyclones) fabric filters (baghouses) and wet scrubbers.
 
Fluidized-Bed Boiler - A large, refractory-lined vessel with an air distribution member or plate in the bottom, a hot gas outlet in or near the top, and some provisions for introducing fuel. The fluidized bed is formed by blowing air up through a layer of inert particles (such as sand or limestone) at a rate that causes the particles to go into suspension and continuous motion.
 
Fly Ash- Particulate matter from coal ash in which the particle diameter is less than 1 x 10__ meter. This is removed from the flue gas using flue gas particulate collectors such as fabric filters and electrostatic precipitators.
 
Forced Outage - The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line or other facility, for emergency reasons or a condition in which the generating equipment is unavailable for load due to unanticipated breakdown.
 
Forwards - A forward is a commodity bought and sold for delivery at some specific time in the future. It is differentiated from futures markets by the fact that a forward contract is customized, non-exchange traded, and a non-regulated hedging mechanism.
 
Fossil Fuels - Fuels that are formed in the earth from the remains of past geological ages. The typical fossil fuels used by utilities include coal, oil and natural gas. Any naturally occurring organic fuel, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.
 
Fossil-Fuel Plant - A plant using coal, petroleum, or gas as its source of energy.
 
Fractionation - The process by which saturated hydrocarbons are removed from natural gas and separated into distinct products, or "fractions," such as propane, butane, and ethane.
 
Franchise - the right of a utility to market the company's services in a particular territory. In some states, a franchise is granted by the regulatory agency and any change must be approved by the regulators.
 
Franchised Service Territory - The geographic service area in which a public utility has an exclusive right and corresponding obligation to provide electricity to consumers.
 
Fuel - Any substance that can be burned to produce heat; also, materials that can be fissioned in a chain reaction to produce heat.
 
Fuel Assistance Programs - Programs that provide assistance to qualifying individuals or households in making their payments for primary heat in the winter months.
 
Fuel Cell - A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy of a fuel directly into electrical energy. Intermediate conversions of the fuel to thermal and mechanical energy are not required. All fuel cells consist of two electrodes (anode and cathode) and an electrolyte (usually retained in a matrix). They operate much like a battery except that the reactants (and products) are not stored, but continuously fed to the cell.
 
Fuel Cost Adjustments - A provision in a rate schedule that provides for an adjustment to the customer's bill if the cost of fuel at the supplier's generating stations varies from a specified unit cost.
 
Fuel Cycle - The series of steps required to produce electricity. The fuel cycle includes mining or otherwise acquiring the raw fuel source, processing and cleaning the fuel, transport, electricity generation, waste management, and plant decommissioning.
 
Fuel Expenses - These costs include the fuel used in the production of steam or driving another prime mover for the generation of electricity. Other associated expenses include unloading the shipped fuel and all handling of the fuel up to the point where it enters the first bunker, hopper, bucket, tank, or holder I the boiler-house structure.
 
"Full" Competition - The opening of local and long distance telephone markets to all providers of telecommunications products and services.
 
Full-Forced Outage - The net capability of main generating units that is unavailable for load for emergency reasons.
 
Functional Separation - 1. The requirement that an electric utility segregate its books and records to isolate the generation function from all other functions. Functional separation of generation services is one of three often-mentioned policy options for protecting consumers from the disadvantages of market power (the other policy options are divestiture and structural separation). 2. The term (rare) also can refer to the segregation of books and records to isolate the transmission or distribution functions from all other functions of the utility.
 
Functional Unbundling - A rate design or corporate organization that offers generation, transmission, or distribution services as stand-alone services with separate charges.
 
Future Test Year - A projected 12-month period selected to demonstrate a utility's need for a rate increase in the future which allows projection of expected cost increases.
 
Futures Market - Arrangement through a contract for the delivery of a commodity at a future time and at a price specified at the time of purchase. The price is based on an auction or market basis. This is a standardized, exchange-traded, and government regulated hedging mechanism.
 
FX-IN - A nonswitched service where the customer of the company is connected to and receives switching service through central office equipment located in another exchange area. [PSC]
 
FX-OUT - A switched service where facilities are provided from the central office out to the exchange boundary where it meets the line from a foreign exchange subscriber. [PSC]
 
G
Gas - A fuel burned under boilers and by internal combustion engines for electric generation. These include natural, manufactured and waste gas.
 
Gas Turbine Plant - A plant in which the prime mover is a gas turbine. A gas turbine consists typically of an axial-flow air compressor, one or more combustion chambers, where liquid or gaseous fuel is burned and the hot gases are passed to the turbine and where the hot gases expand to drive the generator and are then used to run the compressor.
 
Gasification - Waste treatment process where waste is heated to produce a combustible gas that can be burned in excess air to generate heat. The process is not yet developed to a production stage.
 
Gathering - The act of aggregating natural gas from the wellhead and delivering it to either a gas processing plant or a pipeline.
 
General Service - Provision of water to residents and businesses for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other daily uses.
 
Generating Company - Entity that is exclusively engaged in electric power generation, either for wholesale or retail sale.
 
Generating Plant/Unit - Any combination of physically connected generator(s), reactor(s), boiler(s), combustion turbine(s), or other prime mover(s) operated together to produce electric power..
 
Generation (Electricity) - The process of producing electric energy by transforming other forms of energy; also, the amount of electric energy produced, expressed in watt hours (Wh).
 
Generation Charges - Basic service charges for generation supply to retail customers. This excludes charges for transmission or other charges related to electric service.
 
Generation Company (Genco) - A regulated or non-regulated entity (depending upon the industry structure) that operates and maintains existing generating plants. The generation company may own the generation plants or interact with the short-term market on behalf of plant owners. In the context of restructuring the market for electricity, the generationcompany is sometimes used to describe a specialized "marketer" for the generating plants formerly owned by a vertically-integrated utility.
 
Generation Dispatch and Control - Aggregating and dispatching (sending off to some location) generation from various generating facilities, providing backup and reliability services. Ancillary services include the provision of reactive power, frequency control, and load following. (See also Power Pool)
 
Generator - Entities that design, construct, own, operate, and maintain generation assets to supply energy and ancillary services to the competitive market
 
Generator Nameplate Capacity - The full-load continuous rating of a generator, prime mover, or other electric power production equipment under specific conditions as designated by the manufacturer. Installed generator nameplate rating is usually indicated on a nameplate physically attached to the generator.
 
Geographic Split - When all of the telephone prefixes within that area code are assigned, the area code is split into two or more geographic areas, leaving the existing area code to serve one side of the geographic area and assigning new area codes to the remaining areas. [See also Exhaust]
 
Geothermal Energy - As used at electric utilities, hot water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs in the Earth's crust that is supplied to steam turbines at electric utilities that drive generators to produce electricity.
 
Geothermal Plant - A plant in which the prime mover is a steam turbine. The turbine is driven either by steam produced from hot water or by natural steam that derives its energy from heat found I rocks or fluids at various depts. Beneath the surface of the earth. The energy is extracted by drilling and/or pumping.
 
Green Energy - A term for energy produced from renewable energy resources or, sometimes, from clean (low-emitting) energy sources. [See also Green Power; Renewable Energy]
 
Green Marketing/Pricing - Represents a market solution to the various problems associated with regulatory valuation of the nonmarket benefits of renewables. Green pricing programs allow electricity customers to express their willingness to pay for renewable energy development through direct payments on their monthly utility bills.
 
Green Power - Electricity that is produced from environmentally-cleaner sources than traditional electricity. Green power is usually defined as renewable energy that comes from sources like wind, solar, biomass energy, etc. [see also Renewable Energy Resources]
 
Greenhouse Effect - The increasing mean global surface temperature of the earth caused by gases in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbon). The greenhouse effect allows solar radiation to penetrate but absorbs the infrared radiation returning to space.
 
Greenhouse Gases - Substances that can adversely affect human health and the environment when they accumulate in the atmosphere and trap radiant energy; they include sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.
 
Grid - A system of interconnect power lines and generators that is managed so that the generators are dispatched as needed to meet the requirements of the customers connected to the grid at various points. The layout of an electrical distribution system.
 
Grid Operator - The entity that oversees the delivery of electricity over the grid to the customer, while assuring consistently high levels of reliability, and public and worker safety. The grid operator potentially could be independent of the utilities and suppliers.
 
Gross Generation - The total amount of electric energy produced by the generating units at a generating station or stations, measured at the generator terminals.
 
Ground Level Ozone - Nitrogen oxides + volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons) + molecular oxygen + sunlight = ground level ozone (03).
 
H
Hazardous Air Pollutants (see Air Toxics)
 
Hearing - The official proceeding before the Commission or hearing examiner for the purpose of examining evidence and hearing staff and intervenors.
 
Hearing Examiner - The individual appointed by the PSC to conduct hearings and take evidence in a rate case.
 
Heat Pump - A device that extracts available heat from one area (the heat source) ad transfers it to another (the heat sink) to either heat or cool an interior space.
 
Heavy Oil - The fuel oils remaining after the lighter oils have been distilled off during the refining process. Except for start-up and flame stabilization, virtually all petroleum used in steam plants is heavy oil.
 
Hedging Contracts - Contracts which establish future prices and quantities of electricity independent of the short-term market. Derivatives may be used for this purpose.
 
High-Level Nuclear Waste - Irradiated reactor fuel which includes the mass of uranium in the fuel assemblies and does not include the total weight of the fuel assemblies.
 
Historical Billing Data - Historical billing data allows company executives and managers to better forecast demand, allocate resources, and streamline business processes. By analyzing billing data, companies can identify trends, seasonal patterns, cycles, planned fluctuations, and random fluctuations. A company that forecasts an accurate picture of the market can use that information to gain a competitive business advantage.

Billing data is also an underused source for customer information. Examining historical billing data can uncover purchasing behaviors.
 
Holding Company -A corporation which usually owns a controlling interest in the stock of at least one other corporation. Generally, a utility holding company will have investment objectives toward a specific kind of utility (water, gas, electric, etc..).
 
Host Switching System - A switching system that provides centralized control over most of the switching functions of one or more remote switching units. The host switching system usually provides trunk access to the operating company intraLATA networks. [PSC]
 
House/Service Line - see Inside Wire
 
Host Switching System - A switching system that provides centralized control over most of the switching functions of one or more remote switching units. The host switching system usually provides trunk access to the operating company intraLATA networks. [PSC]
 
Hub - A hub is a place where market participants can gain access to multiple providers of supplies and services. For example, Wisconsin buyers frequently obtain gas at the Chicago area hub, where several natural gas pipelines interconnect. [PSC]
 
Hydro - A prefix meaning produced by or derived from water or the movement of water, as in hydroelectricity.
 
Hydroelectric Generator - The process of rotating a series of magnets inside coils of wire to generate electricity. This process moves electrons, which produces electrical current.
 
Hydroelectric Plant/Power - Power obtained from the natural movement of masses of water. Hydroelectric power plants convert the energy contained in flowing water (rivers, streams) into electricity. Low impact hydro plants producing less than 30 Megawatts are often considered renewable sources of electricity.
 
I
Implementation Costs [see Transition Charge]
 
Incentive Ratemaking - A way to set market-based rates for gas supply or transportation. This theory has allowed regulated companies to keep overhead costs low by allowing them to make a profit on their services that are not tied to rates. [PSC]
 
Incentives - Subsidies and other Government actions where the Government's financial assistance is indirect.
 
Income, Net - Utility's profit or monies available after a utility pays its expenses, taxes and interest on long-term debt, which is available to pay dividends to stockholders who have invested monies into the utility and/or for reinvesting in new utility property.
 
Income, Utility Operating - The revenue that remains to pay for the use of the capital invested in the utility after the deduction of operating expenses, depreciation and taxes.
 
Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) - The companies that were in business before the CLECs, e.g. Bell operating companies, or RBOCs.
 
Independent Power Producers (IPP) - Any entity not regulated by the government as a public utility that owns or operates an electricity generating facility and offers electric power for sale to utilities and/or the public. (See also Non-Utility Generators)
These facilities are wholesale electricity producers that operate within the franchised service territories of host utilities are usually authorized to sell at market-based rates. Unlike traditional electric, Independent Power Producers do not possess transmission facilities or sell electricity in the retail market.
 
Independent Service/System Operator (ISO) - A neutral entity, not affiliated in any way with any generation, transmission or distribution market participant, created to operate, control and/or maintain an instantaneous balance of the transmission grid system in a manner that will ensure reliable and fair transfers of electricity between generators and distribution companies.
 
Industrial Customer - A class of utility customers; customers who usually manufacture a product.
 
Industrial Sector - The industrial sector is generally defined as manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, fishing and forestry establishments - Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 01-39. The utility may classify industrial service using the SIC codes or based on demand or annual usage exceeding some specified limit. The limit may be set by the utility based on the rate schedule of the utility.
 
Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) - A planning and selection process for new energy resources than evaluates the full range of alternatives, including new generation capacity, power purchases, energy conservation and efficiency, cogeneration, district heating and cooling applications, and renewable energy resources, in order to provide adequate and reliable service to electrical customers at the lowest system cost. [See also Least-Cost Planning]
 
Integrated Switched Digital Network (ISDN) - A switched data network that handles both voice and data.
 
Interconnection - Mandated in the Telecommunications Act, this requires incumbents to connect to various parts of the incumbent's network. While the Telecommunications Act mandates interconnection, state public utility commissions largely set the terms.
 
Interconnection Agreement - The broad agreement that determines how a CLEC will connect to the ILEC's network. Negotiated or arbitrated agreements typically must receive state public utility commission approval.
 
Internet Service Provider (ISP) - A service provider that connects users to the Internet.
 
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) - Integrated gasification gas turbine-based combined cycle, a type of combined cycle in which the combustion fuel is gasified coal.
 
Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) - A public planning process and framework within which the costs and benefits of both demand- and supply-side resources are evaluated to develop the least total-cost mix of utility resource options. In many states, IRP includes a means for considering environmental damages caused by electricity supply/transmission and identifying cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives.
 
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) - A 128 Kbps (kilobytes per second) digital telephone service available in many parts of the country though not universally available that may be able to substitute for fiber optic cable in every respect except possibly television transmission.
 
Intermediate Load (Electric System) - The range from base load to a point between base load and peak. This point may be the midpoint, a percent of the peak load, or the load over a specified time period.
 
Internal Combustion Plant - A plant in which the prime mover is an internal combustion engine. An internal combustion engine has one or more cylinders in which the process of combustion takes place, converting energy released from the rapid burning of a fuel-air mixture into mechanical energy. Diesel or gas-fired engines are the principal types used in electric plants. The plant is usually operated during periods of high demand for electricity.
 
Internet Voice Communication - a way of talking over the Internet without incurring traditional long distance charges. The only charges are the cost to be connected to the Internet and any long distance or extended community calling charges to reach your Internet service provider. [PSC]
 
Interrogatories - Requests from the Commission or others for clarification or supplementary information.
 
Interruptible Gas - Gas sold to customers with a provision that permits curtailment or cessation of service at the discretion of the distributing company under certain circumstances, as specified in the service contract.
 
Interruptible Load - Refers to program activities that, in accordance with contractual arrangements, can interrupt consumer load at times of seasonal peak load by direct control of the utility system operator or by action of the consumer at the direct request of the system operator. It usually involves commercial and industrial consumers. In some instances the load reduction may be affected by direct action of the system operator (remote tripping) after notice to the consumer in accordance with contractual provisions.
 
Interruptible Service - Sales and transportation service that is offered at both lower cost and lower level of reliability.
 
Interruptible Rate - A special utility rate given to those who agree to have their service reduced or temporarily stopped as part of an agreement with the utility company.
 
Interstate Pipeline - Natural gas pipeline company that is engaged in the transportation, by pipeline, of natural gas across state boundaries, and is subject to the jurisdiction of the FERC under the Natural Gas Act (NGA).
 
Interval Meter - An electricity meter that records a customer's electric usage for defined intervals (e.g., 5 minutes, 15 minutes, half-hour, etc.). This will allow the possibility for consumption during different time periods to be billed at different rates and provide a means for a customer's load pattern to be analyzed.
 
Intervenor - Consumer groups and others who wish to question the validity or necessity of all or part of a rate case. Intervenors may present evidence and question witnesses.
 
Intraexchange Calling - Calls that are placed to other customers within the caller's exchange. The exchange is a basic building block of telephone service. Local service facilities in an exchange radiate from the central office (the wire center) over telephone cable and wires to homes and businesses in the urban area and outlying rural areas. Calling with the exchange is local service. [PSC]
 
IntraLATA Calls - The services, revenues and functions that relate to telecommunications originating in one local access transport area (LATA) and terminating in another LATA or outside of a LATA. The 1982 Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ) requires the local exchange carrier (LEC) to use an interexchange carrier (IEC) for interLATA services
 
Investment Base - The amount of money a utility has invested over the years in facilities (net of depreciation) which serve the customers plus the amount of working capital required to keep the company going.
 
Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) - A company, owned by stockholders for profit, that provides utility services. A designation used to differentiate a utility owned and operated for the benefit of shareholders from municipally owned and operated utilities and rural electric cooperatives.
 
Investors - Those individuals or corporations who buy debt securities or stock in the utility.
 
J
Joint Ownership - A contractual method for financing large facilities (usually generating plants) whereby two or more companies share all costs from the outset, both capital and expenses and, I turn, share the output or benefits in proportion to their investment.
 
K
No Listing at this time
 
L
Landline - Traditional wired phone service.
 
LDC - local Distribution Company, also known as the local utility. [PSC]
 
Least-Cost Alternatives - The lowest cost option for providing for incremental demands. In least cost planning to serve electric demands, the least cost alternatives are often construed broadly to include demand-side management as well as various generation and purchased power options.
 
Least-Cost Planning - [See Integrated Resource Planning].
 
Levelized Cost - The present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over its economic life, converted to equal annual payments. Costs are levelized in real dollars (i.e., adjusted to remove the impact of inflation).
 
Lifeline/Link-up Services - These are programs that help qualify low-income households afford local telephone service. Lifeline assists with monthly telephone bills and Link-up assists with connection and installation charges. [PSC]
 
Light Oil - Lighter fuel oils distilled off during the refining process. Virtually all petroleum used in internal combustion and gas-turbine engines is light oil.
 
Lignite - The lowest rank of coal, often referred to as brown coal, used almost exclusively as fuel for team-electric power generation.
 
Liquefied Natural Gas - A method to store natural gas. Natural gas can be converted to a liquid state by pressure and severe cooling, and then returned to its original form to be used as a fuel.
 
Liquefied Petroleum Gas - Ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, normal butane, butylene, and isobutene produced at refineries or natural gas processing plants.
 
Load - The amount of electric power required at a specific time, or over a specific period of time, by a consumer, circuit, or system.
 
Load Balancing - A service involving delivery or withdrawal of gas supplies through use of underground storage facilities or by other means in order to meet fluctuations in demand.
 
Load Centers - A geographical area where large amounts of power are drawn by end-users.
 
Load Curve - A curve on a chart showing power (kilowatts) supplied, plotted against time of occurrence, and illustrating the varying magnitude of the load during the period covered.
 
Load (Electric) - The amount of electric power delivered or required at any specific point or points on a system. The requirement originates at the energy-consuming equipment of the consumers.
 
Load Factor - The ratio, during a particular time period, of the amount of gas a customer actually takes compared to the maximum amount the customer is entitled to take. Can be expressed in daily, weekly, monthly or annual terms.
 
Load Following - The obligation of the wheeling utility to provide from its own generating sources any difference between the amount of power being wheeled and the instantaneous requirement of the customer receiving, or the supplier delivering the wheeled power.
 
Load Management - Shifting of electricity use from periods of high demand to periods of low demand.
 
Load Profiling - The study of the consumption habits of consumers to estimate the amount of power they use at various times of the day and for which they are billed. Load profiling is an alternative to precise metering.
 
Load Shifting - Involves moving load from on-peak to off-peak periods. Popular applications include use of storage water heating, storage space heating, cool storage and customer load shifts to take advantage of time-of-use or other special rates.
 
Local Access and Transport Areas (LATAS) - A geographic area within which an operating company may offer its telecommunications services. Wisconsin is divided into four primary geographic LATAs. [PSC] [See also IntraLATA]
 
Local Distribution Company/Utility (LDC, LDU) - The company that delivers electricity to a customer's home or business along the poles and wires (formerly a local electric utility).
 
Local Distribution Service Rates - These rates reflect the utility's cost of maintaining and operating its local system for distributing natural gas to homes and business. [PSC]
 
Local Long Distance Service - Refers to calls outside of your local calling area, but within your local Access and Transport Area (LATA). Wisconsin is divided into four LATAs. These calls are also referred to as local toll, or intraLATA calls; (E.g. a call from Madison to La Crosse or Milwaukee to Kenosha, are local long distance or IntraLATA calls.) [PSC]
Local Loop - The circuit between the end user and the central office. Sometimes referred to as "last mile" access.
 
Local Telephone Number Portability (LNP) - Allows customers to keep their existing telephone number when they switch to another local telephone company.
 
Long-Term Debt - A sum of money borrowed through the selling of mortgage bonds or debentures and repaid over a specified period of time, greater than one year.
 
Loop - An electrical circuit that provides two sources of power to a load or substation so that if one source is deenergized the remaining source continues to provide power.
 
Low-Income Customers - Individuals and families whose household income (usually a set percentage above the federal poverty level) qualifies them for programs that offer discounted energy service.
 
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides financial assistance with fuel costs and restoration of utility services during the winter heating season to eligible low-income households. Assistance to income-eligible homeowners and landlords to repair or replace furnaces to become more energy efficient is also available. [See also Federal Poverty Income Guidelines]
 
Low NOx Burners - Control technology used to reduce the amount of NOx emissions that are generated from the combustion of fossil fuels (i.e., coal).
 
M
Marginal Cost- In the utility context, the cost to the utility of providing the next (marginal) kilowatt-hour of electricity, irrespective of sunk costs.
 
Market-Based Pricing/Rates - Electric service prices determined in an open market system of supply and demand under which the price is set solely by agreement as to what a buyer will pay and a seller will accept. Such prices could recover less or more than full costs, depending upon what the buyer and seller see as their relevant opportunities and risks.
 
Market Clearing Price - Electric service prices determined in an open market system of supply and demand under which the price is set solely by agreement a to what a buyer will pay and a seller will accept. Such prices could recover less or more than full costs, depending upon what the buyer and seller see as their relevant opportunities and risks.
 
Market Power - The ability of a company, either individually or in collaboration with other companies, to affect the price of electricity in the relevant market.
 
Market Rate - The price established for electric energy on a commodity basis between willing buyers and sellers without reference to the embedded cost of production.
 
Marketer - Companies that buy and resell gas or broker gas for a profit. They also provide transportation and balancing services, and monitor deliveries. [PSC]
 
Maximum Demand - The greatest of all demands of the load that has occurred within a specified period of time.
 
Mercaptan - A colorless, flammable, liquefied gas with an extremely strong and repulsive smell.
 
Merchant Facilities - High-risk, high-profit facilities that operate, at least partially, at the whims of the market, as opposed to those facilities that are constructed with close cooperation of municipalities.
 
Merchant Plant - An electric generator not owned and operated by an electric utility and that sells its output to wholesale and/or retail customers. Merchant plants may also be called non-utility generators, or independent power producers.
 
Mercury - A toxic pollutant from coal-fired power plants that bioaccumulates in the food chain.
 
Message Unit - A unit of measure for charging telephone calls, based on parameters such as the length of the call, the distance called, and/or the time of day
 
Methane - Commonly known as natural gas (or CH4), the most common hydrocarbon gas; colorless and odorless..
 
Microturbine - A very small turbine, fueled by natural gas or some other energy source, that generates electricity for use in homes, or commercial establishments.
 
Mid-Continent Area Power Pool (MAPP) - an association of electric utilities and other electric industry participants. MAPP was organized in 1972 for the purpose of pooling generation and transmission.
 
Midstream - Natural gas operations located between the wellhead and the burner tip. Generally considered to include gathering, processing and transmission.
 
Minimum Charge - A provision in a rate schedule stating that a customer's bill cannot fall below a specified level.
 
Mobile Telephone - A service which provides radio telephone communication from a mobile vehicle to another vehicle or to a regular telephone.
 
Monopoly (Natural) - Public utilities which operate most efficiently when they are the only seller in the market. A natural monopoly is sanctioned in order to achieve efficient production and distribution of their product. Utility monopolies are controlled through regulation instead of competition.
 
Monopsony - The only buyer with control over market purchases.
 
Mortgage Bonds - A form of long-term loan, included in debt capital, which is secured by the utility's property.
 
Mothballing - The removal of a power plant from service, usually in conjunction with maintenance or decommissioning processes that hold the plant in reserve until service issues are resolved.
 
Multiplexer (MUX) - A device that combines two or more data streams into a single stream, which streamlines the transmission process.
 
Municipal Utility (Muni) - A provider of utility services owned and operated by a municipal government.
N
NARUC - National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. A national organization of utility commissioners and staff formed to study and address complex issues of utility regulation.
 
National Energy Strategy (NES) - A 1991 federal proposal that focused on national security, conservation and regulatory reform, with options that encourage natural gas use.
 
Natural Gas - A hydrocarbon gas that is usually obtained from underground sources, often in association with petroleum and coal deposits. It generally contains a high percentage of methane and inert gases.
 
Natural Gas Act - Passed in 1938, giving the Federal Power Commission (now FERC) jurisdiction over companies engaged in interstate sale or transportation of natural gas. The act instituted federal oversight of rates charged by interstate gas-transmission companies, and also limited certification authority. The principles aims of the Natural Gas Act were to: 1) provide a stable financial and regulatory environment for the financing and construction of interstate gas pipelines; and 2) prevent the "naturally monopolistic" pipelines from engaging in undue discrimination and other feared abuses, including those attendant on their control by utility holding companies or major oil and gas producers.
 
Natural Gas Decontrol Act of 1989 - Signed into law by President Bush, this measure amends the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 by removing the remaining price controls on natural gas.
 
Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) - The hydrocarbon components in natural gas, which include propane, butanes and pentanes.
 
Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) - A statute passed by Congress in 1978, which, among other things, established wellhead prices and escalation formulas for 24 categories of natural gas. The NGPA permitted the decontrol on January 1, 1985 of defined "new gas" and is administered by the FERC.
 
Natural Monopoly - [See Monopoly, Natural]
 
Net Capability - The maximum load-carrying ability of the equipment, exclusive of station use, under specified conditions for a given time interval, independent of the characteristics of the load.
 
Net Generation - Gross generation minus plant use from all electric utility owned plants. The energy required for pumping at a pumped- storage plant is regarded as plant use and must be deducted from the gross generation.
 
Net Income - [See Income, Net]
 
Net Metering - An arrangement that permits a facility (using a meter that reads inflows and outflows of electricity) to sell any excess power it generates over its load requirement back to the electrical grid to offset consumption.
 
Net Summer Capability- The steady hourly output, which generating equipment is expected to supply to system load exclusive of auxiliary power, as demonstrated by tests at the time of summer peak demand.
 
Net Winter Capability - The steady hourly output which generating equipment is expected to supply to system load exclusive of auxiliary power, as demonstrated by tests at the time of winter peak demand.
 
Network- A generic term that refers to interconnected lines, switches, servers, software and other hardware that make up either a data or voice system.
 
Network Interface Device (NID) - The demarcation point between the telephone company facilities and the wiring in a home or business. A NID allows the customer who is experiencing trouble, such as noise or lack of dial tone, to perform preliminary tests of service by connecting a telephone at the NID to locate the source of the service problem themselves. In many cases, the utility has installed a NID where the phone line enters the home. [PSC]
 
New Residential Customer - A customer who has not received utility service in his or her name during the previous 6 months from the utility from which service is requested. [PSC]
 
Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) - A byproduct of electricity generation and a contributor to ozone pollution, smog and the greenhouse effect. [See Greenhouse Gases]
 
Non-Basic Service -Any category of service not related to basic services (generation, transmission, distribution and transition charges)..
 
Non-Bypassable Charge - A charge that all consumers must pay, whether they continue to receive electric service from their present utility or select a new supplier.
 
Noncoincidental Peak Load - The sum of two or more peak loads on individual systems that do not occur in the same time interval. Meaningful only when considering loads within a limited period of time, such as a day, week, month, a heating or cooling season, and usually for not more than 1 year.
 
Non-Firm Power - Power or power-producing capacity supplied or available under a commitment having limited or no assured availability.
 
Non-Traffic Sensitive Costs (NTS) - Costs incurred by the telephone company that are not dependent on usage. In the provision of telephone service, facilities such as the local loop are considered to be non-traffic sensitive.
 
Non-Utility Generation - Electric generation by end-users, independent power producers, or small power producers under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, to supply electric power for industrial, commercial, and military operations, or sales to electric utilities.
Non-Utility Generator (NUG) - Any entity not regulated by the government as a public utility that owns or operates a generating facility and offers electric power for sale to utilities or the public. (See also Independent Power Producers)
 
Nonutility Power Producer - A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns electric generating capacity and is not an electric utility. Nonutility power producers include qualifying qualifying cogenerators, qualifying small power producers, and other nonutility generators (including independent power producers) without a designated franchised service area, and which do not file forms listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 141.
 
Normalization - The task of making elements within a test year to conform to a typical year. Elimination of abnormal circumstances-such as non-recurring costs-when adjusting book figures for a rate case.
 
NOx Emissions - The sum of nitric oxides and nitrogen dioxides emitted, calculated as nitrogen dioxide.
 
NOx Emission Credits (see Emission Credits)
 
Nuclear Energy - Energy obtained as a result of nuclear fission or nuclear fusion.
 
Nuclear Fuel - Fissionable materials that have been enriched to such a composition that, when placed in a nuclear reactor, will support a self-sustaining fission chain reaction, producing heat in a controlled manner for process use.
 
Nuclear Power Plant - A facility in which heat produced in a reactor by the fissioning of nuclear fuel is used to drive a steam turbine.
 
Nuclear Waste - The byproduct of nuclear power production: High-level nuclear waste is defined as:
Low-level nuclear waste is defined as:
 
Number Portability - A term used to describe the capability of individuals, businesses and organizations to retain their existing telephone number(s) - and the same quality of service - when switching to a new local service provider.
O
Obligation-to-Serve - The obligation of a utility to provide electric service to any customer who seeks that service, and is willing to pay the rates set for that service. Traditionally, utilities have assumed the obligation to serve in return for an exclusive monopoly franchise.
 
Occupant - The resident or residents of a premises to which utility service is provided. [PSC]
 
Off-Peak/On-Peak Gas - Blocks of time when energy demand and price is low (off-peak) or high (on-peak).
 
Off-System Sales - The sale of gas supply outside of a company's service territory to other utilities, cogeneration plants and large industrial customers and marketers when it is not needed for core customers.
 
Oligopoly - A few sellers who exert market control over prices.
 
Open Access - A regulatory mandate to allow others to use a utility's transmission and distribution facilities to move bulk power from one point to another on a nondiscriminatory basis for a cost-based fee..
 
Operable Nuclear Unit - A nuclear unit is "operable" after it completes low-power testing and is granted authorization to operate at full power. This occurs when it receives its full power amendment to its operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
 
Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Cost - Operating expenses are associated with operating a facilities (i.e. supervising and engineering expenses). Maintenance expenses are that portion of expenses consisting of labor, materials, and other direct and indirect expenses incurred for preserving the operating efficiency or physical condition of utility plants that are used for power production, transmission, and distribution of energy.
 
Options - An option is a contractual agreement that gives the holder the right to buy (see Call Option) or sell (see Put Option) a fixed quantity of a security or commodity (for example, a commodity or commodity futures contract), at a fixed price, within a specified period of time. May either be standardized, exchange-traded, and government regulated, or over-the-counter customized and non-regulated.
 
Other Public Authority - A class of utility customer. Water is sold to a municipality or government agency as a city or town.
 
Outage - The period during which a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility is out of service.
 
Ozone - A form of oxygen that is a major agent in the formation of air pollution; it results from photochemical reactions involving automobile and industrial emissions. Ozone also occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere (the ozone layer) where it serves as a barrier against the harmful effects of the sun's radiation. Ozone emissions involve pollution close to the earth's surface, where ozone accumulation is harmful. Ozone depletion occurs in the upper atmosphere, where preserving the shrinking ozone layer is essential to protecting the planet.
 
P
Paging - A service which provides one-way signal or voice communication over a radio channel to a miniature receiver carried by the customer.
 
Pair - Two wires of a single circuit.
 
Parallel Path Flow - As defined by NERC, this refers to the flow of electric power on an electric system's transmission facilities resulting from scheduled electric power transfers between two other electric systems. (Electric power flows on all interconnected parallel paths in amounts inversely proportional to each path's resistance.)
Particulate Matter/Particulates - Microscopic particles of dust found in the air. Industrial activities including electricity generation are the focus of proposals to limit particulates, which are said to cause health and environmental problems.
 
Pay-Per-Call and Information Services - Telecommunications services that are accessed by dialing numbers with a 900, 976 or 700 prefix. Customers are billed on a per-call or a per-time-interval basis, with the charge being greater than or in addition to the charge for the transmission of the call. "Pay-per-call" and "information services" are often used interchangeably. Pay-per-call is a specific type of information service while information services is a broad term that includes 900 number pay-per-call services and services that are offered by dialing numbers other than 900 numbers. Customers may have access to these numbers blocked on their lines.
 
Pay Station - A telephone which normally requires all users to deposit one or more coins or use a credit card to complete a call.
 
Peak - The period of greatest gas demand. The peak period in Wisconsin is during the winter months.
 
Peak Demand (see also Capacity and Capacity Charge) - The maximum load during a specified period of time.
 
Peak Day - The 24-hour period of greatest total gas send out
 
Peak Load or Peak Demand - The electric load that corresponds to a maximum level of electric demand in a specified time period. [See also Capacity and Capacity Charge]
 
Peak Load Plant - A plant usually housing old, low-efficiency steam units; gas turbines; diesels; or pumped-storage hydroelectric equipment normally used during the peak-load periods.
 
Peak Shaving - A load management tool that reduces energy costs. The concept is to replace expensive energy used during the peak operating hours (typically 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.) with inexpensive energy produced by a natural gas fueled on-site generator
 
Peak Use Period - The period when gas supply is most likely to be suspended for interruptible service customers.
 
Peaking Capacity - Capacity of generating equipment normally reserved for operation during the hours of highest daily, weekly, or seasonal loads. Some generating equipment may be operated at certain times as peaking capacity and at other times to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.
 
Peaking Generation - Electric generating equipment normally operated to serve loads only during annual peak loads or during system emergencies. Often combustion turbines.
 
Peak Load/Peak Demand - The electric load that corresponds to a maximum level of electric demand in a specified time period. [See also Capacity and Capacity Charge]
 
Peaking Power - Generation used to satisfy demand for electricity during the hours of highest daily, weekly, or seasonal loads (demands).
 
Peaking Unit - A generating unit used to meet the portion of peak load that cannot be met by base load units. Generally, these are higher energy cost units, such as gas turbines.
 
Percent Difference- The relative change in a quantity over a specified time period. It is calculated as follows: the current value has the previous value subtracted from it; this new number is divided by the absolute value of the previous value; then this new number is multiplied by 100.
 
Performance-Based Rates/Regulation (PBR) - Any rate-setting mechanism which attempts to link rewards (generally profits) to desired results or targets. PBR sets rates, or components of rates, for a period of time based on external indices rather than a utility's cost-of-service. Other definitions include light-handed regulation which is less costly and less subject to debate and litigation. A form of rate regulation which provides utilities with better incentives to reduce their costs than does cost-of-service regulation.
 
Personal Communication Service (PCS) - A form of wireless which uses digital technology. [PSC]
 
Petition - A utility's request to the Commission to increase rates, to obtain approval of a certificate of convenience and necessity or for changes in the Commission's rules and regulations.
 
Petroleum - A mixture of hydrocarbons existing in the liquid state found in natural underground reservoirs, often associated with gas. Petroleum includes fuel oil No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No 6; topped crude; Kerosene; and jet fuel.
 
Photovoltaics - Devices which, when exposed to light, have the ability to generate an electrical current. [PSC]
 
Photovoltaic Cell - An electronic device consisting of layers of semiconductor materials fabricated to form a junction (adjacent layers of materials with different electronic characteristics) and electrical contacts and being capable of converting incident light directly into electricity (direct current).
   
Photovoltaic Conversion - Use of semi-conductors or other devices that convert solar radiation (phototons) directly to electricity.
 
Pilot Program - A program approved by the Commission that is offered by a utility to some or all of its customers on a trial basis. All pilot programs require Commission approval and some require the granting of rule exceptions.
 
Pipeline Capacity Charge - Fee to cover transportation of gas. Varies by customer based on local utility calculations.
 
Pipeline Imbalance - Companies which transport and use storage facilities in a pipeline system are obliged by the pipeline operator to keep their input and offtake volumes in balance (within tolerance limits). If there is a positive or negative pipeline imbalance the transporting companies are financially heavily penalized by the pipeline.
 
Pipeline Interconnect - Where large pipelines meet and gas can be switched from one pipeline to another, such as Henry hub in the US.
 
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) - The basic, traditional mode of copper-wire, switched telephone services.
 
Planned Generator - A proposal by a company to install electric generating equipment at an existing or planned facility or site. The proposal is based on the owner having obtained (1) all environmental and regulatory approvals, (2) a signed contract for the electric energy, or (3) financial closure for the facility.
 
Plant - A facility at which are located prime movers, electric generators, and auxiliary equipment for converting mechanical, chemical and/or nuclear energy into electric energy. A plant may contain more than one type of prime mover. Electric utility plants exclude facilities that satisfy the definition of a qualifying facility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978.
 
Plant Use - The electric energy used in the operation of a plant. Included in this definition is the energy required for pumping at pumped-storage plants.
 
Plant-Use Electricity- The electric energy used in the operation of a plant. This energy total is subtracted from the gross energy production of the plant; for reporting purposes the plant energy production is then reported as a net figure. The energy required for pumping at pumped-storage plants is, by definition, subtracted, and the energy production for these plants is then reported as a net figure.
 
Pollution Credits - Monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US-based companies have a limit on the various types of pollution they can produce. If the actual pollution they produce is below this, they have pollution credits which can be traded. [See also Emissions Credits]
 
POOLCO (Wholesale/Retail) - A system in which an independent operator, acting as both the central buying entity for electricity suppliers in the region and the single agent for selling power to retail customers and their aggregators, accepts bids from the suppliers to sell their power and then, based on the bids and the demand for power at that time, establishes the short-term market price for electricity.
 
Portable Generator - A backup source of electricity in the event of a power outage.
 
Portfolio Management - The functions of resource planning and procurement under a traditional utility structure. Portfolio management can also be defined as the aggregation and management of a diverse portfolio of supply (and demand-reduction) resources which will act as a hedge against various risks that may affect specific resources (i.e. fuel price fluctuations and certainty of supply, common mode failures, operational reliability, changes in environmental regulations, and the risk of health, safety, and environmental damages that may occur as a result of operating some supply resources). Under a more market-driven power sector with a "power pool" or POOLCO wholesale market-structure, a portfolio manager would: aggregate and manage a diverse portfolio of spot-market purchases, contracts-for-differences, futures contracts and other market-hedging-type contracts and mechanisms.
Post-Test Year Addition - Additions to utility plants which are placed in service after the test year.
 
Power - The rate at which energy is transferred. Electrical energy is usually measured in watts. Also used for a measurement of capacity.
 
Power Authorities - Quasi-governmental agencies that perform all or some of the functions of a public utility.
 
Power Broker (see Broker)
 
Power Exchange - A function of restructuring that creates a place for generators and suppliers to sell and buy electricity. Prices will vary daily and hourly according to supply and demand.
 
Power Exchange Generation - Generation being scheduled by the power exchange.
 
Power Exchange Load - Load that has been scheduled by the power exchange and which is received through the use of transmission or distribution facilities owned by participating transmission owners.
 
Power Factor - The fraction of power actually used by a customer's electrical equipment, compared to the total apparent power supplied, usually expressed as a percentage.
[See also Primary Discount]
 
Power Marketers - Business entities engaged in buying, selling, and marketing electricity. Power marketers do not usually own generating or transmission facilities. Power marketers, as opposed to brokers, take ownership of the electricity and are involved in interstate trade. These entities file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for status as a power marketer.
 
Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) - The umbrella term for four federally owned PMAs that sell power produced at federal hydropower projects, giving first priority to consumer-owned systems such as co-ops or municipals and making that power available at the cost of production.
 
Power Pool - An entity established to coordinate short-term operations to maintain system stability and achieve least-cost dispatch. The dispatch provides backup supplies, short-term excess sales, reactive power support, and spinning reserve. Historically, some of these services were provided on an unpriced basis as part of the members' utility franchise obligations. Coordinating short-term operations includes the aggregation and firming of power from various generators, arranging exchanges between generators, and establishing (or enforcing) the rules of conduct for wholesale transactions. The pool may own, manage and/or operate the transmission lines "wires" or be an independent entity that manages the transactions between entities. Often, the power pool is not meant to provide transmission access and pricing, or settlement mechanisms if differences between contracted volumes among buyers and sellers exist. .
 
Power Purchase Agreement - The contract entered into by an independent power producer and an electric utility. The agreement specifies the terms and conditions under which electric power will be generated and purchased.
 
Power Supplier - A company that generates (makes) and/or sells electricity. It is not necessary to generate electricity to be a supplier.
 
Power Surge - A sudden change in an electrical system's voltage that is capable of damaging electrical equipment. The most severe surges are caused by lightning.
 
Precipitation Swaps - Instruments linked to the degree of rainfall or snowfall. The party taking out a precipitation swap would receive payment for precipitation above a certain level.
 
Prescribed Interexchange Charge (PICC) - The charge the local exchange company assesses the long distance company when a consumer picks it as his or her long distance carrier.
 
Preferred Stock - Stock guaranteed priority by a corporation's charter over common stock in the payment of dividends and distribution of assets. Preferred stock is sold at a contracted rate.
 
Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) -
A nuclear reactor in which heat is transferred from the core to a heat exchanger via water kept under high pressure without boiling the water.
 
Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge (PICC) - A charge on the long distance portion of a phone bill which may appear as "Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier charge", "Presubscribed Line Charge", or "Carrier Line Charge". The FCC allows local phone companies to charge long distance companies for the use of local telephone line. Many long distance companies recover these costs by charging the consumer.
 
Presubscription - Term used to describe the selection of a particular long distance carrier to handle all calls dialed with 1 plus the area code and phone number. [PSC]
 
Price - The amount of money or consideration-in-kind for which a service is bought, sold, or offered for sale.
 
Price Cap - A situation where a price has been determined and fixed, often by a regulatory body to control the cost of electricity.
 
Price Transparency - Market prices for generation and transmission service made available to the public so that customers know how much they will pay for power supply and transportation in a deregulated market.
 
Primary Discount - A provision is available to customers who can take delivery of electrical energy at primary distribution voltage levels.
 
Primary Distribution/Primary Distribution Feeder - A primary voltage distribution circuit, usually considered to be between a substation or point of supply and the distribution transformers, which supply lower voltage distribution circuits or consumer service circuits.
 
Primary Interexchange Carrier (PIC) - The main long distance carrier used for 1+ dialing through which all long distance toll calls are made.
 
Prime Mover - The engine, turbine, water wheel, or similar machine that drives an electric generator; or, for reporting purposes, a device that converts energy to electricity directly (e.g. photovoltaic solar and fuel cell(s).
 
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) - A manually, or operator controlled switching system, usually on the customer's premises, which serves that customer's telephones over a common group of lines from the central office.
 
Private Line Service - Channel or circuit rented for private use and not intended to be connected to the general distribution system.
 
Privately-Owned Utility (see Investor-Owned Utility)
 
Privatization - The sale or transfer to private individuals or businesses of assets or business owned by the government.
 
Provider of Last Resort - An entity that is legally required to provide service to customers who are not offered electricity service from any competitors.
 
Production Tax Credit (PTC) - Provides the owner of a qualifying facility with an annual tax credit based on the amount of electricity that is generated. By focusing on the energy produced instead of capital invested, this type of tax incentive encourages projects that perform adequately.
 
Profit, Utility - A return which the utility investors earn on the money they have invested over the years to build the system.
 
Provider of Last Resort - A legal obligation (traditionally given to utilities) to provide service to a customer where competitors have decided they do not want that customer's business.
 
"Prudence" - The ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason; a word used to describe a determining factor in deciding whether a utility property should be included in rate base.
 
Public Authority Service to Public Authorities - This service includes electricity supplied and services rendered to municipalities or divisions or agencies of State or Federal governments, under special contracts or agreements or service classifications applicable only to public authorities.
 
Public Benefits Fund (PBF) - A program funded through a generation or transmission interconnection fee on electricity used, to fund various public purpose programs, such as, low-income energy assistance, energy efficiency, consumer energy education, and renewable energy technologies development and demonstration.
 
Public Fire Protection Service - Provision of water at adequate pressures and flow rates from hydrants and sprinkler systems to fight fires.
 
Publicly Held/Publicly Owned Utility
 
Public Interest Goals - Public interest goals of electric utility regulation include: 1) inter and intra-class and intergenerational equity); 2) the equal treatment of equals (horizontal equity); 3) balancing long-and short-term goals that have the potential to affect intergenerational balance; 4) protecting against the abuse of monopoly power; and 5) general protection of the health and welfare of the citizens of the state, nation, and world. Environmental and other types of social costs are subsumed under the equity and health and welfare responsibilities.
 
Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA) - A Federal law that was enacted to address and correct abusive practices by large and powerful utility holding companies that were operating to the detriment of utility ratepayers and shareholders. PUHCA granted the Securities and Exchange Commission the authority to abolish the large holding companies and to regulate mergers and diversification proposals of the remaining holding companies, now known as registered holding companies.
 
Public Utility Commission (PUC) or Public Service Commission (PSC) - the state regulatory body responsible for oversight of those involved in the commodity industry in general and electric deregulation in particular. They govern retail utility rates and practices.
 
Public Utility District - A political subdivision (quasi-public corporation of a state) with territorial boundaries embracing an area wider than a single municipality and frequently covering more than one county for the purpose of generating, transmitting and distributing electric energy.
 
Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) - The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, passed by the U.S. Congress. This statute requires States to implement utility conservation programs and create special markets for co-generators and small producers who meet certain standards, including the requirement that States set the prices and quantities of power the utilities must buy from such facilities.
 
Pulverized Coal -
 
Pumped-Storage Hydroelectric Plant - A plant that usually generates electric energy during peak-load periods by using water previously pumped into an elevated storage reservoir during off-peak periods when excess generating capacity is available to do so. When additional generating capacity is needed, the water can be released from the reservoir through a conduit to turbine generators located in a power plant at a lower level.
 
Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) - A regulatory provision allowing a company to change its rates for the purpose of recovering currently the changes in its cost of purchased gas.
 
Purchased Power Adjustment - A clause in a rate schedule that provides for adjustments to the bill when energy from another electric system is acquired and it varies from a specified unit base amount.
 
Pure Pumped -Storage Hydroelectric Plant - A plant that produces power only from water that has previously been pumped to an upper reservoir.
 
Pyrolysis - The thermal decomposition of biomass at high temperature in the absence of oxygen.
 
Q
Qualifying Facility - A cogeneration or small power production facility that meets certain ownership, operating, and efficiency criteria established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).
 
R
R-Value - a commercial unit used to measure the effectiveness of thermal insulation. A thermal insulator is a material, manufactured in sheets, that resists conducting heat energy. Its thermal conductance is measured, in traditional units, in Btu's of energy conducted times inches of thickness per hour of time per square foot of area per Fahrenheit degree of temperature difference between the two sides of the material
 
Radio Common Carrier (RCC) - A company which furnishes public telecommunications service using one or more radio channels.
 
Rate - The unit charge or charges made to customers for providing a public utility service.
Rate Base - The amount of money a utility has invested over the years in facilities (net of depreciation) which serve the customers plus the amount of working capital required to keep the company going.
 
Rate Cap- The maximum permitted rate for flexibility-priced electricity service.
Rate Case - A proceeding before a regulatory commission to set rates and charges to customers. In addition to the utility, members of the public and their representatives can be parties to a rate case.
 
Rate Design - The allocation of cost of service to different customer classes. [See also Rate Structure]
 
Rate of Return - The percentage set by the Commission that a local utility is authorized to earn on its investment.
 
Rate Order - The decision of the PSC regarding dispensation of a utility rate case.
 
Rate Structure - [See Rate Design]
 
Ratemaking Authority - A utility commission's legal authority to fix, modify, approve, or disapprove rates, as determined by the powers given the commission by a State or Federal legislature.

Real-Time Pricing - The instantaneous pricing of electricity based on the cost of the electricity available for use at the time the electricity is demanded by the customer.
 
Rebundling - Repackaging or regrouping the arrangement of different services such as transport, gathering, storage, or sales by a pipeline or utility for its customer.
 
Receipts - Purchases of fuel.
 
Reciprocal Compensation - Payments that flow between the ILEC and the CLEC. The party that terminates the call receives the payment.
 
Reciprocity - Assurance that utilities, if and when their markets are no longer protected, are allowed to compete in the markets of their competitors.
 
Recloser - A protective device which automatically disconnects and then reconnects the flow of electricity when it detects trouble on an electric line.
 
Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) - Fuel processed from municipal solid waste that can be in shredded, fluff, or densified pellet forms.
 
Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) - The regional telephone companies that resulted from the break-up of AT&T.
 
Regional Transmission Group (RTG) - A utility industry concept that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission embraced for the certification of voluntary groups that would be responsible for transmission planning and use on a regional basis.
 
Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) - A voluntary organization of transmission owners, users, and other entities interested in coordinating transmission planning, expansion, operation, and use on a regional and inter-regional basis. Such groups are subject to FERC approval.
 
Regulation - A rule or order having the force of law issued by the PSC; the state of being regulated by the PSC.
 
Regulator Station/District - Equipment installed for the purpose of automatically reducing and regulating the pressure in the downstream pipeline or main to which it is connected. Included are piping and auxiliary devices such as valves, control instruments, control lines, the enclosure, and ventilation equipment.
 
Reliability - Electric system reliability has two components-adequacy and security. Adequacy is the ability of the electric system to supply to aggregate electrical demand and energy requirements of the customers at all times, taking into account scheduled and unscheduled outages of system facilities. Security is the ability of the electric system to withstand sudden disturbances, such as electric short circuits or unanticipated loss of system facilities. The degree of reliability may be measured by the frequency, duration, and magnitude of adverse effects on consumer services.
 
Remote Switching Unit (RSU) - An electronic switching system that is remote from its host or control office. All of the central control equipment for the RSU is located in the host switching system. [PSC]
 
Renewable Energy - Any energy source that is regenerative or virtually inexhaustible. Typical examples are wind, geothermal, and water power.
 
Renewable Fuels - Biomass from non-fossil fuel sources (wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and trees and other vegetation). Includes byproducts from faring and food processing industries.
 
Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) - A requirement that a small percentage of the nation's power supply portfolio come from renewable sources.
 
Renewable Resources - Naturally, but flow-limited resources that can be replenished. They are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time.
Renewable energy sources include: biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar and wind.
 
Reregulation - The design and implementation of regulatory practices to be applied to the remaining regulated entities after restructuring of the vertically-integrated electric utility. The remaining regulated entities would be those that continue to exhibit characteristics of a natural monopoly, where imperfections in the market prevent the realization of more competitive results, and where, in light of other policy considerations, competitive results are unsatisfactory in one or more respects.
 
Reseller - A carrier that does not own transmission facilities, but obtains communications services from another carrier for resale to the public for a profit. Reserve Margin (Operating) - The amount of unused available capability of an electric power system at peak load for a utility system as a percentage of total capability.
 
Reserve Margin (Operating) - The amount of unused available capability of an electric power system at peak load for a utility system as a percentage of total capability.
 
Residential Customer -One of four classes of utility customers primarily composed of private housing dwellers.
 
Residential Sector - The residential sector is defined as private household establishments which consume energy primarily for space heating, water heating, air conditioning, lighting, refrigeration, cooking and clothes drying.
 
Restructuring - The process of separating utilities into their separate functions - transmission, distribution, generation, and services - and resulting in continued regulation of distribution and transmission services and a competitive market for electricity supply.
 
Retail Access - [See Customer Choice]
 
Retail Choice - The ability of retail customers to shop for electric generation service, and to choose the electric supplier that will provide their electricity.
Retail Competition - The concept under which multiple sellers of electric power can sell directly to end-use customers and the process and responsibilities necessary to make it occur.
 
Retail Market - A market in which electricity and other energy services are sold directly to the end-use customer.
 
Retail Wheeling - The process of moving electric power from a point of generation across one or more utility-owned transmission and distribution systems to a retail customer, giving customers the option to purchase electricity from more than one provider. (See also Direct Access)
 
Retained Earnings - Part of a utility's equity; profits which are retained by the utility often to invest in new facilities and equipment.
 
Retrofit - To furnish with new parts or equipment not available at the time of manufacture of the structure.
 
Return on Equity - The return to shareholders, i.e., the utility's net income expressed as a percentage of that portion of a utility's total investment provided by the common shareholders through the purchase of stock and retained earnings.
 
Revenue - The total amount of money received by a firm from sales of its products and/or services, gains from the sales or exchange of assts, interest and dividends earned on investments, and other increases in the owner's equity except those arising from capital adjustments.
 
Rights-of-Way and Private Easement - Defined as the right to pass over, through, or underneath property owned by another party or a right afforded to a person to make limited use of another's real property. The most typical types of rights-of-way are granted in the form of blanket and private easements. A blanket easement may be granted by a municipality to a utility for installing its facilities on road rights-of-way. In the case of a private easement, the landowner grants the utility permission to install a cable or building facility on the privately owned property. This easement is filed with the county register of deeds and will appear on the property deed.
 
Route Miles - Total number of route miles (to the nearest mile) of operating plant facilities including drop wire in the exchange. One route mile may consist of:

1. One mile of roadway with any combination of outside plant facilities on any number of rights-of-way.

2. One mile of a cross-country route with any combination of outside plant facilities.

3. One mile of point-to point microwave or radio link.

4. One mile of plant on either side of a limited access highway or natural barrier, such as a navigable waterway.

5. One mile of joint use line where the utility either owns the facility or leases space. [PSC]


Router - A device that distributes data traffic to the proper destination.
 
Rules of Conduct- Rules set in advance to delineate acceptable activities by participants, particularly participants with significant market power.
 
Running and Quick-Start Capability - The net capability of generating units that carry load or have quick-start capability. In general, quick-start capability refers to generating units can be available for load within a 30-minute period.
 
Rural Electric Cooperative (Co-op) - An independent electric utility that is owned by the consumers it serves and is legally established to provide at-cost electric service. Typically co-ops are financed initially by the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and are exempt from Federal income tax laws.
 
Rural Electrification Administration (REA) - Former agency of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture charged with administering loan programs for electrification and telephone service in rural areas. The REA was created (1935) by executive order as an independent federal bureau, authorized by the Congress in 1936, and later (1939) reorganized as a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The administration was abolished in 1994 and its functions assumed by the Rural Utilities Service.
 
S
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) - The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 and its 1986 and 1996 amendments are the laws enacted by Congress authorizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national drinking water regulations. [PSC]
 
Sales for Resale - A class of utility customer. Water is sold to other public water systems for resale by those agencies.
 
Sales - The amount of kilowatt hours sold in a given period of time; usually grouped by classes of service, such as residential, commercial, industrial, and other. Other sales include public street and highway lighting, other sales to public authorities and railways, and interdepartmental sales.
SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) - Remote controlled equipment used by utilities to operate their production and delivery systems.
 
Scheduling Coordinators Entities certified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that act as a go-between with the Independent System Operator on behalf of generators, supply aggregators (wholesale marketers), retailers, and customers to schedule the distribution of electricity.
Scheduled Outage - The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility, for inspection or maintenance, in accordance with an advance schedule.
 
Scrubbers - Equipment designed to reduce sulfur emissions from coal-fired power plants.
 
Securitization - A proposal for issuing bonds that would be used to buy down existing power contracts or other obligations. The bonds would be repaid by designating a portion of future customer bill payments. Customer bills would be lowered since the cost of bond payments would be less than the power contract costs that would be avoided. A financial mechanism through which a utility can recover its stranded costs up front, in a single lump sum payment via the issuance of securities, i.e. bonds. [AARP]
 
Securitize - The aggregation of contracts for the purchase of the power output from various energy projects into one pool which then offers shares for sale in the investment market. This strategy diversifies project risks from what they would be if each project were financed individually, thereby reducing the cost of financing.
 
Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) -
Term frequently used as a synonym for catalytic
reduction of NOx in diesel exhaust or flue gases by
nitrogen containing compounds, such as ammonia
or urea. Such SCR systems are commercially available for NOx control in stationary applications. However, "selective catalytic reduction" is a generic term, which is also used in Regard to other reactions.
 
Self-Generation - A generation facility dedicated to serving a particular retail customer, usually located on the customer's premises. The facility may either be owned directly by the retail customer or owned by a third party with a contractual arrangement to provide electricity to meet some or all of the customer's load.
 
Self-Service Wheeling - Primarily an accounting policy comparable to net-billing or running the meter backwards. An entity owns generation that produces excess electricity at one site that is used at another site owned by the same entity. It is given billing credit for the excess electricity (displacing retail electricity costs minus wheeling charges) on the bills for its other sites.
 
Sellback - When an alternative energy system is connected to the grid, and excess power is sold back to the local utility.
 
Separations - The process by which telephone property costs, revenues, expenses, taxes and reserves are assigned between interstate operations, subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC, and intrastate operations, subject to the jurisdiction of a state regulatory body.
 
Service Area/Territory - The geographical territory served by a utility.
 
Service Drop - The overhead conductors between the electric supply, such as the last pole, and the building or structure being served.
 
Service Obligation [see Obligation to Serve]
 
Service Provider - A telecommunications provider that owns circuit switching equipment.
 
Short-Term Debt- A sum of money borrowed directly from banks with the intent of repaying in less than one year. It may or may not be considered part of a utility's debt capital.
 
Signaling System 7 (SS7) - A protocol for addressing calls.
 
Single Tariff Pricing (STP) - A concept applied to allocate revenue requirements on a company-wide basis so that each customer class pays the same water rate regardless of location.
 
Slamming - A change in a customer's selection of provider of telecommunications service (local or long distance) that was made without the customer's knowledge or explicit authorization. Such unauthorized switching violates FCC rules.
 
Small Power Producer (SPP) - Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), a small power production facility (or small power producer) generates electricity using waste, renewable (water, wind and solar), or geothermal energy as a primary energy source. Fossil fuels can be used, but renewable resource must provide at least 75 percent of the total energy input. (See Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 18, Part 292.)
 
Solar Energy - Power produced by technology that collects solar radiation to produce electricity. The two most common forms of solar energy are photovoltaic panels, which are semiconductors that directly generate electricity, and solar thermal plants, which use the sun to create steam to turn a turbine.
 
SOx Emissions - Emissions of sulfur dioxides.
 
SO2 Emission Credits [See Emission Credits]
 
Special Contracts - Any contract that provides a utility service under terms and conditions other than those listed in the utility's tariffs. For example, an electric utility may enter into an agreement with a large customer to provide electricity at a rate below the tariffed rate in order to prevent the customer from taking advantage of some other option that would result in the loss of the customer's load. This generally allows that customer to compete more effectively in their product market.
 
Spinning Reserve - That reserve generating capacity running at a zero load and synchronized to the electric system.
 
Spot Market - A market for short-term, specified volumes of gas supplies and capacities. [PSC]
 
Spot Pricing - The price of a commodity or service is established by the market for short-term transactions. This price can change with each transaction and reflects the continually changing balances between supply and demand.
 
Spot Purchases - A single shipment of fuel or volumes of fuel, purchased for delivery within 1 year. Spot purchases are often made by a user to fulfill a certain portion of energy requirements, to meet unanticipated energy needs, or to take advantage of low-fuel prices.
 
Stability - The property of a system or element by virtue of which its output will ultimately attain a steady state. The amount of power that can be transferred from one machine to another following a disturbance. The stability of a power system is its ability to develop restoring forces equal to or greater than the disturbing forces so as to maintain a state of equilibrium.
 
Stand-Alone System - A solar energy installation not connected to a utility power line. A direct system uses the PV-produced electricity as it is produced, e.g. a solar-powered water-pumping station. A battery storage system stores the PV-produced electricity for use a later time, e.g. at night or on cloudy days.
 
Stand Alone Switch - A central office switch which has no remote switching units (RSUs) subtending it. [PSC]
 
Standard Offer - The basic terms and rates offered to a customer in a competitive retail electricity market, usually when the customer does not select a particular service plan and receives the stand offer "by default."
 
Standby Facility - A facility that supports a utility system and is generally running under no-load. It is available to replace or supplement a facility normally in service.
 
Standby Service - Support service that is available, as needed, to supplement a consumer, a utility system, or to another utility if a schedule or an agreement authorizes the transaction. The service is not regularly used.
 
Steam-Electric Plant (Conventional) - A plant in which the prime mover is a steam turbine. The steam used to drive the turbine is produced in a boiler where fossil fuels are burned.
 
Stipulation - A signed, written agreement presented to the Commission which eliminates, either total or partial, differences between the parties involved in a proceeding before the Commission. This procedure was developed to expedite the hearing process and ultimate decision by the Commission.
 
Stock, Common- Capital stock, other than preferred, which is bought by utility shareholders and becomes part of a utility's equity. Its value is determined in the marketplace, and its return is not a contractual rate.
 
Stocks, Preferred - [See Preferred Stock]
 
Stockholders- Shareholders; those individuals or holding companies who invest their money into the utility by buying stocks.
 
Stocks - A supply of fuel accumulated for future use. This includes coal and fuel oil stocks at the plant site, in coal cars, tanks, or barges at the plant site, or at separate storage sites.
 
Stranded Benefits/Stranded Public Benefits -
Public interest programs and goals which could be compromised or abandoned by a restructured electric industry. These potential "stranded benefits" might include: environmental protection, fuel diversity, energy efficiency, low-income ratepayer assistance, and other types of socially beneficial programs.
 
Stranded Costs/Stranded Assets - A stranded cost occurs when customers of one utility are allowed to have power brought to them from some other supplier, thereby leaving the original utility with debts for plants and equipment it no longer needs and without the revenue from the ratepayers the plants were built to serve. All potentially stranded costs are the result of decisions that [See also Embedded Costs Exceeding Market Prices]
 
Stranded Investments - Prudent costs incurred by a utility which may not be recoverable under market-based retail competition. Examples are undepreciated generating facilities, deferred costs, and long-term contract costs.
 
Stranded Margins - Revenue generated because the value of utility investments that were made under regulation is greater in a competitive market than it is under a regulated monopoly structure.
 
Stray Voltage - a special case of voltage in which the neutral to earth voltage is present across points (generally grounded metal objects) in which a current flow is produced when an animal comes into contact with. Stray voltages are low-level voltages and should be distinguished from painful shocks felt by humans.
 
Structural Separation - 1) The requirement that an electric utility create a separate subsidiary to run its generation services. The subsidiary would operate in a separate building and have its own employees and financial reporting procedures. Structural separation of generation services is one of three often-mentioned policy options for protecting consumers from the disadvantages of market power (the others are divestiture and functional separation). 2) The term (rare) also can refer to the requirement that an electric utility create a separate subsidiary to run its transmission or distribution services.
 
Sub bituminous Coal - A coal whose properties range from those of lignite to those of bituminous coal and are used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation.
 
Sub metering - Remetering of purchased energy by a customer for distribution to the customer's tenants through privately owned or rented meters.
 
Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) - A monthly fee paid by telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of installation and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles and other facilities that link the home to the telephone network.
 
Substation - Facility equipment that switches, changes, or regulates electric voltage.
 
Sulfur - One of the elements present in varying quantities in coal which contributes to environmental degradation when coal is burned.
 
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) - A pungent toxic gas that is a major pollutant associated with electric generation through non-renewable sources. [See Greenhouse Gases]
 
Summer Peak - The greatest load on an electric system during any prescribed demand interval in the summer (cooling) season.
 
Sunk Costs - A cost that has already been incurred, and therefore cannot be avoided by any strategy going forward.
 
Supplier - Any entity that sells electricity to customers using either its own transmission and distribution facilities or those of another company.
 
Supply Costs - All costs of the production of electric energy as measured at the point the electric energy is transferred to the local distribution utility for delivery to a customer.
 
Supply-Side - Activities conducted on the utility's side of the customer meter. Activities designed to supply electric power to customers, rather than meeting load through energy efficiency measures or on-site generation on the customer side of the meter.
 
Sustainable Technology - Energy use and technology drawing from renewable energy sources that does not harmfully disrupt the natural environment or the social structures of the people involved.
 
Switch - A device that connects callers to their destinations.
 
Switching Station - Facility equipment used to tie together two or more electric circuits through switches. The switches are selectively arranged to permit a circuit to be disconnected, or to change the electric connection between the circuits.
Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - The technology at each end of an optical fiber system that connects, or interfaces, those fibers to the rest of a system.
 
System (Electric) - Physically connected generation, transmission, and distribution facilities operated as an integrated unit under one central management, or operating supervision.
 
System Load Factor - The ratio of average load to peak load during a specific period of time, expressed as a percent.
 
System Benefits Charge - A charge on all users of electricity to fund public interest programs, such as energy conservation, research and development, energy efficiency, and low-income assistance.
 
T
Take-or-Pay- A clause in a gas supply contract providing that, for a specific period, a stated minimum quantity of gas must be paid for whether or not delivery is accepted by the purchaser. Some contracts contain a time period in which the buyer may take the gas previously paid for and not taken.
 
Tandems - Switches that consolidate traffic.
 
Tariff - The documents filed by a carrier describing their services and the payments to be charged for such services.
 
Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Wisconsin - The Wisconsin Legislature passed a law requiring local phone companies to pay into the state's Universal Service Fund (USF) through a TEACH assessment. The TEACH program makes lower cost data lines and video links available to schools and libraries. The law also allows local phone companies to pass these costs to consumers through increased rates. [PSC]
 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 - Federal legislation that opened the way for CLECs to compete with incumbent carriers.
Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) - A free service that enables persons with TTYs, individuals who use sign language and people who have speech disabilities to use telephone services by having a third party transmit and translate the call.
 
Telephony - The word used to describe the science of transmitting voice over a telecommunications network.
 
10-10 Dial Around - Dialing a long distance number using 1-(area code)-(phone number). The call is billed by the presubscribed carrier that has been chosen. A different company can be used for one or more calls by using a "dial-around" provider. To use these companies, one dials 1010, then the 3-digit code for the company desired, then the phone number. [PSC]
 
Test Year - A specific 12-month period selected to demonstrate a utility's need for a rate increase.
 
Thermal Plants - [See Geothermal Power]
 
Three-Phase Service - Service where the facility (e.g. manufacturing plant, office building, warehouse, barn) has three energized wires coming into it. Typically serves larger power needs of greater than 120V/240V.
Throughput - The amount of gas traveling through the natural gas delivery system
 
Time-of-Use (TOU) Meter - A meter that measures how much electricity a customer uses during a specific time of the day and in total.
 
Time-of-Use Rates - The pricing of electricity based on the estimated cost of electricity during a particular time block. Time-of-use rates are usually divided into three or four time blocks per twenty-four hour period (on-peak, mid-peak, off-peak and sometime super off-peak) and by seasons of the year (summer and winter). [See also Real-time Pricing]
 
Transformer - An electrical device for changing the voltage of alternating current.
 
Transition Charge - A cents-per-kilowatt-hour charge added to every customer's bill to recover an electric utility's stranded costs.
 
Transition Costs - Above-market utility costs that have not yet been recovered through rates. These costs result from changes in market structure (such as deregulation) and would become "stranded" in the move to a competitive market. Transition costs include utility-owned above-market generation costs; such as power purchased from Qualifying Facilities; and costs known as regulatory assets, such as deferred taxes. (See also Embedded Costs)
 
Transmission - The movement or transfer of electric energy over an interconnected group of lines and associated equipment between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery to consumers, or is delivered to other electric systems.
Transmission is considered to end when the energy is transformed for distribution to the consumer.
The process of transporting high-voltage electricity from the points of generation to the location of groups of electricity users and low-voltage distribution wires. [AARP]
 
Transmission Access - The ability of third parties to use transmission facilities owned by others (wheeling utilities) to deliver power to another utility.
 
Transmission Charge - Basic service charges for the cost of transporting electricity over high voltage wires from the generator to the distribution system of an electric distribution company.
 
Transmission-Dependent Utility - A utility that relies on its neighboring utilities to transmit to it the power it buys from its suppliers. A utility without its own generation sources, dependent on another utility's transmission system to get its purchased power supplies.
 
Transmission Grid - An interconnected system of electric transmission lines that allows power to move fro any point to another over multiple paths.
 
Transmission System (Electric) - An interconnected group of electric transmission lines and associated equipment for moving or transferring electric energy in bulk between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery over the distribution system lines to consumers, or is delivered to other electric systems.
 
Transmitting Utility - This is a regulated entity which owns, and may construct and maintain, wires used to transmit wholesale power. It may or may not handle the power dispatch and coordination functions. It is regulated to provide non-discriminatory connections, comparable service, and cost recovery. According to EPACT, this includes any electric utility, qualifying cogeneration facility, qualifying small power production facility, or Federal power marketing agency which owns or operates electric power transmission facilities which are used for the sale of electric energy at wholesale.
Transportation - Authority given to interstate pipelines (under Section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act) to move gas "on behalf" of distributors or intrastate pipelines.
 
Treble Damages - The ability, under Wisconsin law, for an energy utility to sue a customer for three times the amount of the bill if the customer had the ability to pay the bill during the winter moratorium period but failed to do so. "Ability to pay" is measured as being over 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. The treble damage amount is in addition to the money owed for the bill itself.
 
True-Up Mechanism - A method for adjusting for price fluctuations and other changes to prevent the over-recovery of stranded costs. The term typically refers to a provision in legislation or regulation that gives such authority to state regulators.
 
Trunk - A communications path connecting two switching systems in the establishment of an end-to-end connection.
 
TTY - A type of machine that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the phone using a keyboard and a viewing screen. Sometimes called a TDD.
 
Turbine - A machine for generating rotary mechanical power from the energy of a stream of fluid (such as water, steam, or hot gas). Turbines convert the kinetic energy of fluids to mechanical energy through the principles of impulse and reaction, or a mixture of the two.
U
Unbundled Rates - Disaggregation of the services (gas purchasing, meter reading, pipeline operations) historically provided by distribution companies.
 
Unbundled Service - Electricity service that is broken down into its basic components. Each component is priced and sold separately. For example, generation, transmission, and distribution could be unbundled and offered as individual services.
 
Unbundling - The separating of the total process of electric power service from generation to metering into its component parts for the purpose of separate pricing or service offerings.
 
Underground Gas Storage - The use of sub-surface facilities for storing gas that has been transferred from its original location for the primary purpose of load balancing.
 
Uniform System of Accounts - Prescribed financial rules and regulations established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for utilities subject to its jurisdiction under the authority granted by the Federal Power Act.
Unit Costs - The supply costs of a particular electric generating resource expressed in terms of costs per unit of production such as cents per kilowatt-hour.
 
Universal Service - The concept that all residents should have essential telecommunication services and access to advanced telecommunications services and programs.
 
A financial mechanism which helps compensate telephone companies or other communications entities for providing access to telecommunications services at reasonable and affordable rates throughout the country, including rural, insular and high costs areas, and to public institutions. Companies, not consumers, are required by law to contribute to this fund. The law does not prohibit companies from passing this charge on to customers.
 
Universal Service Fund (USF) - Promotes and protects affordable telephone service to low-income persons, to persons with disabilities, to customers in high-cost areas, and to schools, libraries and health care providers, both state and federal laws have established a USF to keep rates low and provide specific support to telephone companies or specific users. Providers are assessed by these USFs to fund these programs.
 
"Used or Useful" - A phrase used to describe the determining factors in deciding whether a utility property should be included in rate base.
 
Useful Thermal Output - The thermal energy made available for use in any industrial or commercial process, or used in any heating or cooling application, i.e., total thermal energy made available for processes and applications other than electrical generation.
 
Utility - The service and equipment provided by a public utility to its customers; i.e., water, electricity, natural gas.
 
Utility Distribution Companies - The entities that will continue to provide regulated services for the distribution of electricity to customers and serve customers who do not choose direct access.
 
Utility Expenses - The money the utility spends for wages and benefits for its employees, for maintenance, for customer service, for materials and supplies, for fuel, for administration of the company, interest, taxes, etc..
 
Utility Holding Company - A company created to invest in common stocks of utility companies. Generally, a holding company will have investment objectives toward a specific kind of utility (water, gas, electric, etc..).
 
V
Variable Costs - Costs that change or vary with usage, output or production. Example: Fuel costs.
 
Value of Service- A utility pricing concept in which the usefulness or necessity of a service to a customer group replaces or supplements cost factors as a major influence on the rates charged to the group.
 
Vertical Disaggregation - Separating electric generation, transmission and distribution functions of a utility into separate companies. [See Unbundling]
 
Vertical Integration - An arrangement whereby the same company owns all the different aspects of making, selling, and delivering a product or service.
The structure of an electric utility in which the company owns generation plants, a transmission system, and distribution lines and thus can provide all aspects of electric service. [AARP]
 
Virtual Private Network (VPN) - A secure method of transmitting data.
 
Voice-over-DSL (VoDSL) - Sending voice transmissions over DSL networks.
 
Voltage Reduction - Any intentional reduction of system voltage by three (3) percent or greater for reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the bulk electric power supply system.
 
Volumetric Wires Charge - A type of charge for using the transmission and/or distribution system that is based on the volume of electricity that is transmitted.
 
W
Weather Normalization Adjustment (WNA) - Rate adjustments approved by certain regulatory commissions that allow a company to increase the base rate portion of customer bills when weather is warmer than normal and decrease the base rate when weather in colder than normal.
 
Weatherization - Modifying a home or structure to conserve energy. Methods include: sealing window and door frames with caulking or gaskets, installing storm doors and windows, and adding or increasing the insulation.
 
Wellhead - The point of gas production. Natural gas prices are often cited "at the wellhead" as opposed to the point of consumption which also includes the cost of transporting gas from the wellhead to the consumer.
 
Wheeling - The transmission of electricity by an entity that does not own or directly use the power it is transmitting. Wholesale wheeling is used to indicate bulk transactions in the wholesale market, whereas retail wheeling allows power producers direct access to retail customers. Often used colloquially to mean transmission.
 
Wholesale Competition - A system whereby a power distributor would have the option to buy its power from a variety of power producers, and the power producers would be able to compete to sell their power to a variety of distribution companies.
 
Wholesale Customers - Any entity that purchases electricity at the wholesale level, including municipal utilities, private utilities, electric cooperatives, or government-owned utility districts. Wholesale customers purchase electricity from other wholesale suppliers to resell to their own retail customers.
 
Wholesale Power Market - The purchase and sale of electricity from generators to resellers (who sell to retail customers), along with the ancillary services needed to maintain reliability and power quality at the transmission level.
 
Wholesale Power Supply (see Bulk Power Supply)
 
Wholesale Transmission Services - The transmission of electric energy sold, or to be sold, at wholesale in interstate commerce (from EPACT).
 
Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) - Customer leased access line or lines connected to the nationwide network over which an unlimited number of calls can be made for a fixed monthly charge. [PSC]
 
Wind Energy/Wind Generation - A facility at which many devices powered by the wind produce mechanical or electrical power on a large scale.
 
Wind Farm - A facility at which many devices powered by the wind produce mechanical or electrical power on a large scale.
 
Wind Power - Captures the energy of air currents using turbine blades; as the blades rotate, electricity is generated. Wind power ranges from large wind "farms" consisting of multiple turbines several stories high, to "small wind" systems that individuals can install in their backyards.
 
Wind Power Class - A classification method used to describe the usable (for electricity generation) wind resource at a particular site. A classification of 1 denotes the least amount of energy, while a classification of 7 denotes the greatest amount of energy.
 
Winter Peak - The greatest load on an electric system during any prescribed demand interval in the winter (or heating) season.
 
Wire Center - The location of one or more local switching systems. A point at which customers' loops converge. [PSC]
 
Wires Charge - A broad term which refers to charges levied on power suppliers or their customers for the use of the transmission or distribution wires.
 
Wireless - A radio technology that enables the user to make and receive telephone calls virtually anywhere they go (within wireless coverage areas). Wireless (radio) technology is used in many familiar devices. For example, television remote controls, garage door openers, AM/FM radios and televisions. More recent examples would include cellular phones, personal communication service, pagers, and cordless phones. [PSC]
 
Wires Charge - A broad term which refers to charges expressed in cents-per-kilowatt-hour for the use of transmission or distribution wires.
 
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