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Industry Education

Actual Peak Reduction
Actual reduction in annual peak load (measured in kilowatts)
Adjustment Bid
Used by the Independent System Operator (ISO) to adjust supply or demand
A company that negotiates with producers of a utility service such as electricity on behalf of groups of consumers.
Ancillary services
Ancillary services are the specialty services and functions provided by the electric grid that facilitate and support the continuous flow of electricity so that supply will continually meet demand.
Base rate
A fixed kilowatt-hour charge for electricity consumed that is independent of other charges and/or adjustments.
The minimum amount of electric power needed to be supplied to the electrical grid at any given time.
Baseload capacity
The generating equipment normally operated to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.
Baseload plant
A plant, usually housing high-efficiency steam-electric units, which is normally operated to take all or part of the minimum load of a system, and which consequently produces electricity at an essentially constant rate and runs continuously. These units are operated to maximize system mechanical and thermal efficiency and minimize system operating costs.
Basic Services
Services that are necessary for the physical delivery of service, including generation, transmission and distribution.
Abbreviation for billion cubic feet.
Billing period
The time between meter readings.
British Thermal Unit (BTU)
Is a standard unit of energy which is a common measure of heating value for different fuels.
Refers to the role of an individual or a firm when it acts as an agent for a customer.
Bundled Utility Service
All generation, transmission, and distribution services provided by one entity for a single charge.
Capacity (purchased)
Amount of energy and capacity available for purchase from outside the system.
100 cubic feet.
Coincidental Demand
The sum of two or more demands that occur in the same time interval.
Reduction of energy use.
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.
Delivered cost
The cost of fuel, including the invoice price of fuel, transportation charges, taxes, commissions, insurance, and expenses associated with leased or owned equipment used to transport the fuel.
Having a meter to measure peak demand
Dependable capacity
The load-carrying ability of a station or system under adverse conditions for a specified period of time.
The elimination of some or all regulations from a previously regulated industry or sector of an industry.
The delivery of energy to retail customers.
Department of Energy.
Electric rate
The price set for a specified amount and type of electricity by class of service in an electric rate schedule or sales contract.
Electric utility
A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality aligned with distribution facilities for delivery of electric energy for use primarily by the public. Included are investor-owned electric utilities, municipal and State utilities, Federal electric utilities, and rural electric cooperatives. A few entities that are tariff based and corporately aligned with companies that own distribution facilities are also included.
Anthropogenic releases of gases to the atmosphere. In the context of global climate change, they consist of radiatively important greenhouse gases (e.g., the release of carbon dioxide during fuel combustion).
Energy Supplier
Fuel companies supplying electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, kerosene, or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to the household.
Environmental Protection Agency
Fossil fuel
An energy source formed in the Earth's crust from decayed organic material. The common fossil fuels are petroleum, coal, and natural gas.
A volumetric measure equal to 4 quarts (231 cubic inches) used to measure fuel oil. One barrel equals 42 gallons.
The process of producing electric energy by transforming other forms of energy; also, the amount of electric energy produced, expressed in kilowatt hours.
Geothermal energy
Hot water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs in the earth's crust. Water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs can be used for geothermal heat pumps, water heating, or electricity generation.
Gigawatt (GW)
One billion watts or one thousand megawatts.’
Gigawatt-electric (GWe
One billion watts of electric capacity.
Gigawatthour (GWh)
One billion watthours.
Global warming
An increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is today most often used to refer to the warming some scientists predict will occur as a result of increased anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse effect
The result of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other atmospheric gases trapping radiant (infrared) energy, thereby keeping the earth's surface warmer than it would otherwise be. Greenhouse gases within the lower levels of the atmosphere trap this radiation, which would otherwise escape into space, and subsequent re-radiation of some of this energy back to the Earth maintains higher surface temperatures than would occur if the gases were absent.
Greenhouse gases
Those gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride, that are transparent to solar (short-wave) radiation but opaque to long-wave (infrared) radiation, thus preventing long-wave radiant energy from leaving Earth's atmosphere. The net effect is a trapping of absorbed radiation and a tendency to warm the planet's surface.
The layout of an electrical distribution system.
High efficiency lighting
Lighting provided by high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and/or fluorescent
Incandescent lamp
A glass enclosure in which light is produced when a tungsten filament is electrically heated so that it glows. Much of the energy is converted into heat; therefore, this class of lamp is a relatively inefficient source of light. Included in this category are the familiar screw-in light bulbs, as well as somewhat more efficient lamps, such as tungsten halogen lamps, reflector or r-lamps, parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR) lamps, and ellipsoidal reflector(ER) lamps.
Independent power producer
A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns or operates facilities for the generation of electricity for use primarily by the public, and that is not an electric utility.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Natural gas (primarily methane) that has been liquefied by reducing its temperature to -260 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric pressure.
Load factor
The ratio of the average load to peak load during a specified time interval.
Low Btu gas
A fuel gas with a heating value between 90 and 200 Btu per cubic foot..
Liquefied Petroleum Gases.
Liquefied Refinery Gases.
Manufactured gas
A gas obtained by destructive distillation of coal or by the thermal decomposition of oil, or by the reaction of steam passing through a bed of heated coal or coke. Examples are coal gases, coke oven gases, producer gas, blast furnace gas, blue (water) gas, carbureted water gas. Btu content varies widely.
Megawatt (MW)
One million watts of electricity.
Megawatt electric (MWe
One million watts of electric capacity.
Megawatthour (MWh)
One thousand kilowatt-hours or 1million watt-hours.
Natural gas
A gaseous mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, the primary one being methane.
Natural gas marketer
A company that arranges purchases and sales of natural gas. Unlike pipeline companies or local distribution companies, a marketer does not own physical assets commonly used in the supply of natural gas, such as pipelines or storage fields. A marketer may be an affiliate of another company, such as a local distribution company, natural gas pipeline, or producer, but it operates independently of other segments of the company. In States with residential choice programs, marketers serve as alternative suppliers to residential users of natural gas, which is delivered by a local distribution company.
Nonrenewable fuels
Fuels that cannot be easily made or "renewed," such as oil, natural gas, and coal.
Nuclear electric power (nuclear power)
Electricity generated by the use of the thermal energy released from the fission of nuclear fuel in a reactor.
Off peak
Period of relatively low system demand. These periods often occur in daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns; these off-peak periods differ for each individual electric utility.
Periods of relatively high system demand. These periods often occur in daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns; these on-peak periods differ for each individual electric utility.
Peak demand
The maximum load during a specified period of time.
Peak load
The maximum load during a specified period of time.
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.
Public utility
Enterprise providing essential public services, such as electric, gas, telephone, water, and sewer under legally established monopoly conditions.
Regulation, procedures, and practices
A utility commission carries out its regulatory functions through rulemaking and adjudication. Under rulemaking, the utility commission may propose a general rule of regulation change. By law, it must issue a notice of the proposed rule and a request for comments is also made; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission publishes this in the Federal Register. The final decision must be published. A utility commission may also work on a case-by-case basis from submissions from regulated companies or others. Objections to a proposal may come from the commission or intervenors, in which case the proposal must be presented to a hearing presided over by an administrative law judge. The judge's decision may be adopted, modified, or reversed by the utility commissioners, in which case those involved can petition for a rehearing and may appeal a decision through the courts system to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Renewable energy resources
Energy resources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited. They are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time. Renewable energy resources include biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action
Seasonal rates
Different seasons of the year are structured into an electric rate schedule whereby an electric utility provides service to consumers at different rates. The electric rate schedule usually takes into account demand based on weather and other factors.
Solar energy
The radiant energy of the sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.
System (electric)
Physically connected generation, transmission, and distribution facilities operated as an integrated unit under one central management or operating supervision.
System (gas)
An interconnected network of pipes, valves, meters, storage facilities, and auxiliary equipment used in the transportation, storage, and/or distribution of natural gas or commingled natural and supplemental gas.
One trillion watt hours.
One hundred thousand (100,000) Btu.
Transmission (electric)
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.
Movement of natural, synthetic, and/or supplemental gas between points beyond the immediate vicinity of the field or plant from which produced except (1) for movements through well or field lines to a central point for delivery to a pipeline or processing plant within the same state or (2) movements from a city gate point of receipt to consumers through distribution mains.
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. Regardless of where a consumer chooses to purchase power, the customer's current utility, also known as the utility distribution company, will deliver the power to the consumer.
Watt (W)
The unit of electrical power equal to one ampere under a pressure of one volt. A Watt is equal to 1/746 horse power.
Watthour (Wh)
The electrical energy unit of measure equal to one watt of power supplied to, or taken from, an electric circuit steadily for one hour.
A device for measuring power consumption.
Wholesale electric power market
The purchase and sale of electricity from generators to resellers (retailers), along with the ancillary services needed to maintain reliability and power quality at the transmission level.
Wind energy
Kinetic energy present in wind motion that can be converted to mechanical energy for driving pumps, mills, and electric power generators.
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