Energy Terms

Energy Terminology

Here you’ll find definitions to commonly-used terms in the energy space. Click the alphabet below to begin. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Customer Service Specialists are standing-by, so just click here to contact Customer Care or simply give us a call at 844.692.4372. We’re always there to help!

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  • Above-Market Generation
    Electricity produced at costs higher than prevailing market prices.
  • Actual Peak Load Reductions
    The actual reduction in annual peak load (measured in kilowatts) achieved by consumers that participate in a utility Demand Side Management (DSM) program. It reflects the real changes in the demand for electricity resulting from a utility DSM program that is in effect at the same time the(...)
  • Advanced Metering
    Device for recording or communicating actual electric use during minutes, hours, days or weeks useful for time-of-day, on-peak/off peak or other billing rates.
  • Affiliated Retail Electric Provider
    A Retail Electric Provider (REP) that is owned, but separately operated, by a former monopoly electric utility.
  • Aggregator
    A person joining two or more customers, other than municipalities and political subdivision corporations, into a single purchasing unit to negotiate the purchase of electricity from retail electric providers. Aggregators may not sell or take title to electricity. Retail electric providers are(...)
  • Alternating Current (AC or ac)
    An electric current which reverses direction repeatedly due to a change in voltage occurring at the same frequency.
  • Ampere
    Electric current produced by one volt applied across a resistance of one ohm. It is also equal to the ow of one coulomb per second.
  • Ancillary Services (AS or as)
    Necessary services that must be provided in the generation and delivery of electricity. As defined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,they include: coordination and scheduling services (load following, energy imbalance service, control of transmission congestion); automatic generation(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Avoided Cost
    The cost to the utility if it had generated or otherwise purchased the power. It is a benchmark price for energy services, used to compare resource alternatives. Avoided cost is the marginal long-term or short-term production cost that could be avoided by an alternative supply-side or(...)
  • Base Bill
    A charge calculated through multiplication of the rate from the appropriate electric rate schedule by the level of consumption
  • Base Load
    The minimum energy level an electric plant must provide you on a constant basis
  • Base Load Capacity
    The generating equipment normally operated to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.
  • Base Load Plant
    A plant, usually housing high-efficiency steam-electric units, which is normally operated to take all or part of the minimum load of a system, and which consequently produces electricity at an essentially constant rate and runs continuously. These units are operated to maximize system(...)
  • Basic Services
    Services that are necessary for the physical delivery of service, including generation, transmission and distribution.
  • Basis
    The differential that exists between the future price for a given commodity and the Cash or Spot price for the same or related commodity. Basis may reflect different time periods, product forms, qualities or locations. Cash minus Futures equals Basis.
  • BCF
    Billion Cubic Feet.
  • Bilateral Agreement
    Written statement signed by a pair of communicating parties that specifies what data may be exchanged between them.
  • Biomass
    Organic non-fossil material of biological origin constituting a renewable energy source such as energy derived from plants. Alcohol fuels are produced from wood, sugarcane and corn. Firewood, crop residue and cattle dung can also be burned.
  • British Thermal Unit (Btu)
    Is a standard unit of energy which is a common measure of heating value for different fuels. One Btu is equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at its maximum density, which occurs at a temperature of 39.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Broker
    A retail agent who arranges or negotiates for the purchase and sale of electricity or natural gas. Brokers usually act on the behalf of others and do not buy energy for their own end-use customers.
  • Bulk Power Market
    A market where wholesale purchases and sales of electricity are made.
  • Bundled Utility Service
    All generation, transmission, and distribution services provided by one entity for a single charge. This would include ancillary services and retail services.
  • Burner tip
    Refers to the location at which the gas is being consumed by the End-user. Generally off the local distribution company or gas utility system.
  • 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.
  • Capacity
    The assignment or release of firm transportation rights from one shipper (the Releasing Shipper) to another shipper (the Replacement Shipper) on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Capacity (Purchased)
    The amount of power available for purchase from outside the system to supply energy or capacity.
  • Capacity Charge
    An element in a two-part pricing method used in capacity transactions (energy charge is the other element). The capacity charge, sometimes called Demand Charge, is assessed on the amount of capacity being purchased.
  • Cash Market
    The market for a cash commodity where the actual physical product is traded (same as spot market).
  • CCF
    100 cubic feet.
  • Co-generator
    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.
  • Combined Cycle
    An electric generating technology in which electricity is produced from otherwise lost waste heat exiting from one or more gas (combustion) turbines. The exiting heat is routed to a conventional boiler or to a heat recovery steam generator for utilization by a steam turbine in the production(...)
  • 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).
  • Competitive Power Suppliers
    Companies that sell power - also called electricity providers, power generators or energy marketers. Your power is delivered by the local electric utility/distribution company (DISCO).
  • Congestion
    A condition that occurs when insufficient transfer capacity is available to implement all of the preferred schedules for electricity transmission simultaneously.
  • Conservation
    Reduction of energy use.
  • Consumption (Fuel)
    The amount of fuel used for gross generation, providing standby service, start-up and/or flame stabilization.
  • Contract Price
    Price of fuels marketed on a contract basis covering a period of 1 or 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(...)
  • Contract Receipts
    A purchase based on a negotiated agreement that generally covers a period of 1 or more years.
  • Control Area
    An electric power system or combination of electric power systems to which a common automatic control scheme is applied in order to: (1) match, at all times, the power output of the generators within the electric power system(s) and capacity and energy purchased from entities outside the(...)
  • Cooperative (Co-Op)
    Rural electric cooperatives generate and/or purchase wholesale power, arrange for the transmission of that power, and then distribute the power to serve the demand of rural customers. Co-ops typically become involved in ancillary services such as energy conservation, load management and other(...)
  • Cost-of-Service 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.
  • Cubic Foot
    The most common unit of measurement of natural gas volume. It is the amount of gas that can fit within a space one foot times one foot times one foot in volume. One cubic foot of pipeline-quality gas contains approximately 1,000 BTU.
  • Current (Electric)
    A flow of electrons in an electrical conductor. The strength or rate of movement of the electricity is measured in amperes.
  • Customer Charge
    Part of the monthly basic distribution charge to partially cover costs for billing, meter reading equipment, service line maintenance and equipment. This charge is the same no matter how much electricity you use.
  • Daily Peak
    The greatest amount of electricity used during a certain period in a day, such as an hour, half-hour or quarter hour.
  • 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.
  • Decatherm (or, Dekatherm)
    Ten therms or 1 million Btu. One decatherm is equal to approximately 1,000 cubic feet (Mcf).
  • Default Service
    The electric generation service provided to any consumer who does not or is unable to arrange for or maintain electric generation services with an electric supplier after deregulation begins.
  • Degree Day
    A measure of the coldness of the weather (heating degree day) or its heat (cooling degree day) based on the extent to which the daily mean temperature falls below or rises above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Delivering Party
    The entity supplying the capacity and/or energy to be transmitted at Point(s) of Receipt.
  • Delivery Month
    The month specified in a given contract for delivery of the actual physical commodity.
  • Demand Charge
    A charge for gas or electric service based on actual or estimated peak daily (or hourly, weekly, monthly) usage of a customer.
  • Demand-Side Management
    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.
  • Deregulation
    The elimination of regulation from a previously regulated industry or sector of an industry (such as electricity or natural gas); sometimes used interchangeably with restructuring.
  • Derivative
    Financial instrument derived from a cash market commodity, futures contract or other financial instrument. Derivatives can be traded on regulated exchange market or over-the-counter. For example, futures contracts are derivatives of physical commodities, options on futures are derivatives of(...)
  • Direct Access
    An arrangement that gives customers the choice of buying electricity from any supplier in the competitive market. Under direct access, customers could buy power from any generator and use the transmission and distribution network to transport the electricity.
  • Direct Current (DC)
    Electrical current that normally flows in one direction only.
  • Distribution Company
    The company that delivers power to your home or business, also known as your local electric utility/distribution company (DISCO).
  • Distribution Power
    A packaged power unit located at the point of demand. While the technology is still evolving, examples include fuel cells and photovoltaic cells.
  • Distribution System
    The portion of an electric system that is dedicated to delivering electric energy to an end user.
  • Divestiture
    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(...)
  • Downstream
    A pipeline closer to the market area as opposed to an upstream pipeline which is closer to the production area.
  • Dual Fuel Capacity
    Ability of a facility to use more than one kind of fuel for the same purpose non-concurrently.
  • Electric Distribution Company (EDC)
    The company that owns the power lines and equipment necessary to deliver purchased electricity to the customer.
  • Electric Power Plant
    A station containing prime movers, electric generators, and auxiliary equipment for converting mechanical, chemical, and/or fission energy into electric energy.
  • 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 Service Provider
    An entity that provides electric service to a retail or end-use customer.
  • Electric Utility
    Any person or state agency with a monopoly franchise (including any municipality) that sells electric energy to end-use customers. End-Use The ultimate use to which energy service is put, such as water heating and air conditioning.
  • Electricity Generation
    The process of producing electric energy or transforming other forms of energy into electric energy. Also, the amount of electric energy produced or ex-pressed in watt-hours (Wh).
  • Energy Charge
    That portion of the charge for electric service based upon the electric energy that was consumed or billed. The energy charge is usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
  • Energy Conservation
    Actions that are taken to reduce or manage energy consumption in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Methods of reducing energy include using insulation, increasing energy efficiency and changing patterns of use.
  • Energy Consumption
    The use of energy as a source of heat or power or as an input in the manufacturing process. Energy consumption determined by multiplying the demand by the time period over which the energy was used. The kilowatt-hour is the typical unit of measure for energy consumption.
  • Energy Efficiency Programs
    Refers to programs that are aimed at reducing the energy used by specific end-use devices and systems, typically without affecting the services provided. These programs reduce overall electricity consumption (reported in megawatt or kilowatt hours), often without explicit consideration for the(...)
  • Energy Service Company (ESCO)
    Companies that offer customers energy and energy-related products and services; required to be approved or licensed by state public utility commissions.
  • 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.
    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(...)
  • Escape Provision
    A contract clause allowing one to break a contract, usually with a penalty.
  • Exempt Wholesale Generator
    Created under the 1992 Energy Policy Act, these wholesale generators are exempt from certain financial and legal restrictions stipulated in the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935.
  • Expiration Dates
    The dates and times after which trading in options or futures contracts terminate, and after which all contract rights or obligations become null and void.
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates the price, terms and conditions of natural gas and electricity sold in interstate commerce and regulates the price, terms and conditions of all wholesale transactions. FERC is the federal counterpart to state utility regulatory commissions.
  • 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 Service (FT)
    The highest quality of sales or transmission service offered to customers under a led rate schedule that anticipates no planned interruption. It also receives the highest priority of service.
  • Fixed Price
    A price, usually per kilowatt-hour, that remains the same over the term of the contract.
  • Flat Rate
    A fixed charge for goods and services that does not vary with changes in the amount used, volume consumed or units purchased.
  • 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.
  • Fossil-Fuel Plant
    A plant using coal, petroleum, or gas as its source of energy.
  • Frequency
    The number of complete alternations or cycles per second of an alternating current. It is measured in Hertz. The standard frequency in the US is 60 Hz. However, in some other countries the standard is 50 Hz.
  • Fuel
    Any substance that can be burned to produce heat; also, materials that can be fissioned in a chain reaction to produce heat.
  • Fuel Chain
    The chain of activities involved in transforming energy into forms more convenient for society. This chain may include some or all of the following: fuel exploration, extraction, preparation, transportation, conversion to electricity, distribution and waste disposal.
  • Fuel Charge
    The rate charged per kilowatt-hour (or cubic feet) to cover the costs of the fuel used to produce power (or gas.)
  • 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(...)
  • Fuel Loss
    Fuel loss is associated with transporting natural gas across a pipeline system (also referred to as Line Loss or Shrinkage).
  • Full-Forced Outage
    The net capability of main generating units that is unavailable for load for emergency reasons.
  • 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.
  • Gas Adjustment Factor
    An adjustment to a LDC sales rate to reflect the fluctuating cost of purchased gas.
  • Gas Day
    The standard day by which gas is nominated (e.g. 10:00 am to 10:00 am the following day).
  • Gas Turbine Plant
    A plant in which the prime mover is a gas turbine. A gas turbine consists typically of an axial-ow 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(...)
  • Generating 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).
  • Generator
    A machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
  • Geothermal Energy
    Energy from the internal heat of the Earth, which may be residual heat, friction heat, or a result of radioactive decay. The heat is found in rocks and fluids at various depths and can be extracted by drilling or pumping.
  • 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 in rocks or fluids at various depths beneath the surface of the earth. Drilling and/or pumping extract the energy.
  • Gigawatt (GW)
    One billion watts.
  • Gigawatt hour (GWh)
    One billion watt-hours.
  • Green Power
    Power that is generated from renewable energy sources. Specific definitions of green power vary in each state. Typically, wind, solar and bio-mass fuels are considered sources of green power.
  • 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.
  • Grid
    A system of interconnected 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.
  • 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.
  • Hedging Contracts
    Contracts which establish future prices and quantities of electricity independent of the short-term market. Derivatives may be used for this purpose.
  • Henry Hub
    A pipeline interchange near Erath, LA where a number of interstate and intrastate pipelines interconnect. Used as the standard delivery point for the NYMEX gas futures contract.
  • Horsepower
    A unit of power equal to 746 watts.
  • Hourly Metering or Time of Use Metering
    Tracking or recording your consumption during a specific time period.
  • Hourly Non-Firm Transmission Service
    Point-to-point transmission that is scheduled and paid for on an as-available basis and is subject to interruption.
  • Hub
    A geographic location where multiple participants (e.g. pipelines) trade services.
  • Hydrocarbon
    An organic chemical compound of hydrogen and carbon in the gaseous, liquid, or solid phase. The molecular structure of hydrocarbon compounds varies from the simplest (methane, a constituent of natural gas) to the very heavy and very complex. Natural sources of hydrocarbons are the by-products(...)
  • Hydroelectric Plant
    A plant in which the turbine generators are driven by falling water.
  • Independent Power Producer (IPP)
    Wholesale electricity producers (other than qualifying facilities under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978) that are unaffiliated with franchised utilities in the area in which the independent power producers are selling power and that lack significant marketing power. Unlike(...)
  • Independent System Operator (ISO)
    A neutral, independent, and (typically non-profit) organization with no financial interest in generating facilities that administers the operation and use of the transmission system. ISOs exercise final authority over the dispatch of generation to preserve reliability and facilitate(...)
  • 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-red engines(...)
  • 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 Rate
    A special utility rate given to certain industrial customer who agrees to have their service reduced or temporarily stopped as part of an agreement with their electric provider.
  • Interstate Pipeline
    Pipeline extending across several states. Such a pipeline is involved in interstate commerce and is therefore regulated by the FERC.
  • Investor-Owned Utility
    A class of utility whose stock is publicly traded and which is organized as a tax-paying business, usually financed by the sale of securities in the capital market. It is regulated and authorized to achieve an allowed rate of return.
  • Joule
    A unit of work or energy equal to one watt for one second. One kilowatt hour equals 3,600,000 Joules. Named after James P. Joule, an English physicist 1889.
  • Kilovolt (kV)
    Unit of electrical potential equal to 1000 volts.
  • Kilovolt Amperes (kVA)
    A unit of apparent power equal to 1000 volt amperes. Here, apparent power is in contrast to real power. On ac systems the voltage and current will not be in phase if reactive power is being transmitted. Usually abbreviated kVA or KVA.
  • Kilowatt (kW)
    One thousand watts.
  • Kilowatt-hour (kWh)
    The basic unit of electric energy equal to one kilowatt of power supplied to or taken from an electric circuit steadily for one hour. One kilowatt-hour equals 1,000 watt-hours.
  • LDC
    See Local Distribution Company.
  • Line Loss
    The fuel loss associated with transporting natural gas across a pipeline system (also referred to as Shrinkage or Fuel Loss).
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
    Natural gas that has been liquefied by lowering its temperature to negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • LMP
    Stands for Locational Market Pricing.
  • Load Factor
    The ratio of average energy demand to maximum demand for a time period, such as one year, one month, or one hour. An end user with a high load factor uses energy at a consistently higher level year-round than an end user who may use energy specifically for heating or cooling.
  • Load Management
    Shifting use of electricity from periods of high demand to periods of lower demand, when the cost of electricity usually is lower.
  • Local Distribution Company (LDC)
    A business entity that obtains its primary revenues from the operations of a local retail gas distribution system and operates no transportation system other than connections within its own system or to the system of another company. Most often, an LDC is a utility.
  • Long-Term Contract
    A supply contract in the physical market covering energy deliveries of more than 18 months. Mid-term and long-term contracts are significant because they extend over a heating season.
  • Market Clearing Price
    The price at which supply equals demand for the Day Ahead and/or Hour Ahead Markets.
  • Market Participants
    Any parties or agents who participate in the electrical energy marketplace through either the buying or selling of electrical energy or services.
  • Market Power
    When one company owns a sufficiently large percentage of generation, transmission, or distribution capabilities in a region to allow it to influence the price of electricity by forcing the purchase of its own power.
  • Market-Based Pricing
    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(...)
  • Maximum Demand
    The greatest of all demands of the load that has occurred within a specified period of time.
  • MCF
    Thousand Cubic Feet
  • Megawatt (MW)
    One million watts
  • Megawatt hour (MWh)
    One million watt-hours.
  • MISO
    Name of wholesale power pool that serves the Ohio Grid. The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. is the official name of the ISO covering that region and serves a total of 11 States.
  • MMBtu
    One million British Thermal Units, one dekatherm. Approximately equal to thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas.
  • MMcf
    One million cubic feet.
  • Monopoly
    One seller of electricity with control over market sales.
  • Municipally Owned Utility (Muni)
    A non-profit utility that is owned and operated by the municipality it serves.
  • Natural Gas Product
    A naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon and non hydrocarbon gases found in rock formations. Its principal component is methane.
  • Natural Gas, Dry
    The marketable portion of natural gas production, which is obtained by subtracting extraction losses, including natural gas liquids removed at natural gas processing plants, from total production.
  • Natural Gas, Wet
    A mixture of hydrocarbon compounds and small quantities of various non-hydrocarbons existing in the gaseous phase or in solution with crude oil in porous rock formations at reservoir conditions. The principal hydrocarbons normally contained in the mixture are methane, ethane, propane, butane,(...)
  • 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.
  • Nomination
    A request for service by a shipper under a Service Agreement. Most nominations are made on a daily basis, although mid-day nominations are possible on some systems.
  • Non-Coincidental 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-Firm Transmission Service
    Point-to-point transmission service that is reserved and/or scheduled on an as-available basis and is subject to interruption. Non-firm Transmission Service is available on a stand-alone basis as either Hourly Non-firm Transmission Service or Short-Term Non-firm Transmission Service.
  • Non-Utility Power Producer
    A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns electric generating capacity and is not an electric utility. Non-utility power producers include qualifying co-generators, qualifying small power producers, and other non-utility generators (including(...)
  • Nuclear Electric Power
    Electricity generated by an electric power plant whose turbines are driven by steam generated in a reactor by heat from the fissioning of nuclear fuel.
  • Nuclear Energy
    Energy from the inner core or nucleus of the atom, as opposed to energy released in chemical processes, which derives from the electrons surrounding the nuclei. Nuclear fusion is the release of thermonuclear energy by the conversion of hydrogen nuclei to helium nuclei, in a continuing reaction(...)
  • 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.
  • Obligation To Serve
    Under traditional regulation, it is the duty of a regulated utility to provide service to all customers in its service territory on a non-discriminatory basis.
  • Off-Peak
    The hours of the day that represent lower electrical demand. These are the less expensive hours of the day (e.g. Nighttime when demand is low).
  • Open Access
    Gives all customers equal opportunity to the grid.
  • Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS)
    OASIS is a real-time information-sharing system that enables all buyers and sellers of electricity to access the transmission costs for all other buyers and sellers. This system is designed to ensure that transmission owners and their affiliates do not have an unfair advantage in using(...)
  • Operational Flow Order (OFO)
    Order issued by a pipeline or LDC to protect the operational integrity of the pipeline or distribution system either by restricting service or requiring affirmative action by shippers.
  • Outage
    The period during which a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility is out of service.
  • Pancaking
    The effect of adding on charges as power moves through several transmission systems.
  • Peak Demand
    The maximum load during a specified period of time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Performance Based Ratemaking (PBR)
    Under performance-based ratemaking, rates for utility service would no longer be based on cost-of-service, but instead on performance standards and market indices. PBR allows a utility greater flexibility to manage the costs of its electric system and to price its power at competitive levels(...)
  • Photovoltaic Cells
    Used to directly convert solar radiation into electricity. Materials called semiconductors, usually made from pure silicon, transfer light energy (photons) into electrical energy in a process known as the photoelectric effect.
  • 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(...)
  • Power
    The rate at which work is performed or that energy is transferred. Electric power is commonly measured in watts or kilowatts. A power of 746 Watts is equivalent to 1 horsepower.
  • 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 Generation Company
    A competitive company that operates and maintains existing generation plants. The company may own the generation plants or may interact with the short-term market for electric power on behalf of plant owners.
  • 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(...)
  • Power Pool
    An association of two or more interconnected electric systems having an agreement to coordinate operations and planning for improved reliability and efficiencies.
  • Power Sources
    The different types of fuels that can be used to produce electricity; nuclear, fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) and renewable energy resources.
  • Price Cap
    A level above, which regulated prices, may not rise.
  • 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.
  • Prompt Month
    The futures contract closest to maturity (also called nearby month or spot month).
  • Public Utility Commission (PUC)
    Generic term for a state agency holding regulatory power over energy pricing, and issues related thereto.
  • Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA)
    The federal act outlines requirements for state utility commissions, electric utilities, independent power producers and certain federal regulatory agencies to encourage the use of alternative energy sources in the generation of electric power. The act created a market for independent power(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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.
  • Qualifying Facility (QF)
    A co generation 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).
  • Rate Base
    The value of property upon which a utility is permitted to earn a specified rate of return as established by a regulatory authority. The rate base generally represents the value of property used by the utility in providing service and may be calculated by any one or a combination of the(...)
  • RCE
    Stands for Residential Customer Equivalent.
  • RCE Annual
    Residential Customer Equivalent based on 12 Months of Annual Historical Usage (HU). For Power we divide Annual HU by 10,000 kWh = 1 RCE, Gas we Divide Annual HU therms by 1000 = 1 RCE.
  • RCE Contracted Inception
    Residential Customer Equivalent based on the Inception of the contract term multiplied by the Annual Historical Usage (HU) as an example: if the customer has a 2 year contract we calculate as follows ( Contract End Date - Contract Start)/30 Days Average Month/12 Months Per Year Annual HU. For(...)
  • Receipt Point
    The point at which gas is delivered to, or received from a pipeline.
  • Regulation
    The governmental function of controlling or directing economic entities through the process of rulemaking and adjudication.
  • Releasing Shipper
    The original pipeline capacity holder of rm space on a pipeline for which reservation (demand) charges are paid. This party may release capacity for others shippers (Replacement Shippers) to use through the Capacity Release market.
  • Reliability
    The ability to deliver uninterrupted electricity to customers on demand and to withstand sudden disturbances such as short circuits or loss of major system components. This encompasses the reliability of the generation system and of the transmission and distribution system. Reliability may be(...)
  • 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. Some (such as geothermal and biomass) may be stock-limited in that stocks are depleted by use, but on a time scale(...)
  • Replacement Shipper
    The party acquiring capacity that has been released by another shipper (the Releasing Shipper) through the Capacity Release market.
  • Retail
    Sales covering electrical energy supplied for residential, commercial, and industrial end-use purposes. Other small classes, such as agriculture and street lighting, also are included in this category.
  • 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 Customers
    Customers, including residences and businesses, who themselves use the electricity they purchase; also referred to as end-use customers.
  • Retail Electric Provider (REP)
    An entity that sells electric energy to retail customers in Texas. A retail electric provider may not own or operate generation assets.
  • 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.
  • RTP
    Stands for Real-Time Pricing.
  • Rural Electric Cooperatives
    These are electric coops located in rural areas of the country and established and operating under rules established by Congress.
  • Scheduled Outage
    The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility, for inspection or maintenance, in accordance with an advance schedule
  • 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.
  • Service Agreement
    The initial agreement and any supplements thereto entered into by the Transmission Customer and the Transmission Provider for service.
  • Service Area
    The geographic territory served by a utility.
  • Service Obligation
    Refers to the duties a regulated public utility must perform for its customers. Service obligation includes the duty to serve all prospective customers, to provide adequate, reliable service and to render safe, efficient and nondiscriminatory service.
  • Settlement
    The price established by the NYMEX at the close of each trading session as the official price.
  • Shareholder-Owned Electric Utilities
    U.S. public utilities owned by shareholders, organized as corporations, and regulated by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state public utilities commissions. About three-quarters of all Americans receive electric service from shareholder-owned electric utilities.
  • Shipper
    One who contracts for transportation of natural gas. A shipper retains title to all natural gas delivered to the pipeline while it is being transported by the pipeline.
  • 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(...)
  • Spinning Reserve
    That reserve generating capacity running at a zero load and synchronized to the electric system.
  • Spot Market
    The market for a cash commodity where the actual physical product is traded (same as cash market). Done in the month of physical delivery.
  • Spot Month
    The futures contract closest to maturity (also called nearby month or prompt month).
  • 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.
  • Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
    A set of codes developed by the Office of Management and Budget, which categorizes business into groups with similar economic activities.
  • 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.
  • Storage Facilities
    Used to store natural gas that has been transferred from its original location. It usually consists of natural geological reservoirs, such as depleted oil or gas fields.
  • Stranded Benefits
    Benefits associated with regulated retail electric service, which may be at risk under open market retail competition. Examples are conservation programs, fuel diversity, reliability of supply, and tax revenues based on utility revenues.
  • Stranded Costs
    Prudent costs incurred by a utility which may not be recoverable under market-based retail competition. Examples are un-depreciated generating facilities, deferred costs, and long-term contract costs.
  • Substation
    Facility equipment that switches, changes, or regulates electric voltage.
  • Supplier
    An entity, other than the LDC, that can perform energy and customer service functions in a competitive environment, including provision of energy and assistance in the efficiency of its use.
  • Switching Station
    Facility equipment used to tie together two or more electric circuits through switches. The switches are selectively arranged to permit a circuit tombe disconnected, or to change the electric connection between the circuits.
  • System (Electric)
    Physically connected generation, transmission, and distribution facilities operated as an integrated unit under one central management, or operating supervision.
  • Tariff
    A document, approved by the responsible regulatory agency, listing the terms and conditions, including a schedule of prices, under which utility services will be provided.
  • Terms of Service
    Content of the agreement between a customer and a REP.
  • Therm
    The equivalent of 100,000 Btu or approximately 100 cubic feet of natural gas.
  • Time-of-Use (TOU) Rates
    The pricing of electricity based on the estimated cost of electricity during a particular time block, either time-of-day or by season.
  • Transformer
    An electrical device for changing the voltage of alternating current.
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Transportation
    Moving natural gas through pipelines from one place to another. Separating Electric or natural gas utility service into its basic components (such as electric generation, transmission and local distribution; and natural gas production, pipeline transportation and local distribution) and(...)
  • Unbundled Service
    This is electric service broken down into its basic components. Each component is priced and sold separately. For example, generation, transmission and distribution could be unbundled.
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
    A device that provides a constant regulated voltage output in spite of interruptions of the normal power supply. It includes filtering circuits and is usually used to feed computers or related equipment which would otherwise shutdown on brief power interruptions.
  • Upstream Pipeline
    A pipeline closer to the production area, as opposed to downstream pipeline closer to the market.
  • Utility
    A regulated energy company with the characteristics of a natural monopoly.
  • Variable Price
    A price that can change by the hour, day or month.
  • Vertical Integration
    An arrangement whereby the same company owns all the different aspects of making, selling, and delivering a product or service. In the electric industry, it refers to the historically common arrangement whereby a utility would own its own generating plants, transmission system, and(...)
  • Volt
    The electrical potential difference or pressure across a one ohm resistance carrying a current of one ampere. Named after Italian physicist Count Alessandro Volta 1745-1827.
  • Volt Ampere (VA)
    A unit of apparent power equal to the mathematical product of a circuit voltage and amperes. Here, apparent power is in contrast to real power. On ac systems the voltage and current will not be in phase if reactive power is being transmitted.
  • Volt Ampere Reactive (VAR)
    Unit of ac reactive power.
  • Voltage Drop
    A voltage reduction due to impedances between the power source and the load. These impedances are due to wiring and transformers and are normally minimized to the extent possible.
  • Voltage Reduction
    Any intentional reduction of system voltage by 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.
    Weighted Average Cost of Gas.
  • Watt
    The electrical unit of power. The rate of energy transfer equivalent to 1 ampere owing under a pressure of 1 volt at unity power factor.
  • Watt-hour (Wh)
    An electrical energy unit of measure equal to 1 watt of power supplied to, or taken from, an electric circuit steadily for 1 hour.
  • Wellhead
    This is the point of origin in the gas supply process.
  • Wellhead Price
    The price of oil or natural gas at the mouth of the well.
  • Wheeling Service
    The movement of electricity from one system to another over transmission facilities of intervening systems. Wheeling service contracts can be established between two or more systems.
  • Wholesale Competition
    A system whereby a distributor of power 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 Customer
    Any entity that purchases electricity at the wholesale level, including municipal utilities, private utilities, rural 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 Sales
    Energy supplied to other electric utilities, cooperatives, municipals, and Federal and State electric agencies for resale to ultimate consumers.
  • Wholesale Transmission Services
    The transmission of electric energy sold, or to be sold, at wholesale in interstate commerce (from EPACT).
  • Wholesale Wheeling
    The process of sending electricity from one utility to another wholesale purchaser over the transmission lines of an intermediate utility. Under the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992, utilities must provide wholesale transmission wheeling services to any electric utility, federal power marketing(...)
  • Wind Energy
    The kinetic energy of wind converted into mechanical energy by wind turbines (i.e., blades rotating from a hub) that drive generators to produce electricity.
  • Wind Turbine
    Windmill of advanced aerodynamic design connected to an electricity generator and used in wind power installations. Wind turbines can be either large propeller-type rotors mounted on a tall tower or flexible metal strips fixed to a vertical axle at top and bottom.
  • Wires
    Charges levied for transmission or distribution wires.
  • Wood Energy
    Wood and wood products used as fuel, including round wood (cord wood), limb wood, wood chips, bark, sawdust, forest residues, charcoal, pulp waste, and spent pulping liquor.
  • Zone
    Subsets of a utility’s overall territory based on geographical areas.

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Agera Energy is an independent retail supplier of electricity and natural gas. We are not affiliated with, nor endorsed by any local utility or state commission. Agera is licensed to sell electricity and natural gas in the state of California (ESP: 1394), Maryland (Gas: IR-3418 and Electric: IR-3417), New York, Pennsylvania (Electric: A-2014-2445416; Gas: A-2014-2445425), Virginia (Electric: E-31; Gas: G-43), Maine (Electric: 2014-00361), Rhode Island (Gas: 2379(k3); Electric: D-96-6(D7)), District of Columbia (Gas: GA 2014-14; Electric: EA 2014-25), Illinois, New Jersey (Electric: ESL-0194; Gas: GSL-0167), Massachusetts, New Hampshire (Electric: DM-14-298; Gas: DM-14-299), Ohio (Electric: 14-881E(1); Gas: 15-415G(1)). Agera is also licensed to sell electricity in Connecticut (Application of Agera Energy for an Electric Supplier License PURA Docket: 14-10-05), Delaware (Docket: 14-0506); Texas (Rep Cert: 10230). Agera does not guarantee a saving.