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Terms and Definitions:

 

Power System Terminology

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

A

Ampere: The unit of measurement of electrical current produced in a circuit by 1 volt acting through a resistance of 1 ohm.

Ancillary Services: 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 control (load frequency control and the economic dispatch of plants); contractual agreements (loss compensation service); and support of system integrity and security (reactive power, or spinning and operating reserves).

Apparent Power: The product of the voltage (in volts) and the current (in amperes). It comprises both active and reactive power. It is measured in “volt-amperes” and often expressed in “kilovolt-amperes” (kVA) or “megavolt-amperes” (MVA).

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.

Average Revenue per Kilowatthour: The average revenue per kilowatthour 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.

 
 
 

B

Base Bill: A charge calculated through multiplication of the rate from the appropriate electric rate schedule by the level of consumption.

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.

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.

 
 
 

C

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 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 from outside the system.

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.

Circuit: A conductor or a system of conductors through which electric current flows.

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. To receive status as a qualifying facility (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), the facility must produce electric energy and "another form of useful thermal energy through the sequential use of energy," and meet certain ownership, operating, and efficiency criteria established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). (See the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 292.)

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 peakloads 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 of electricity. This process increases the efficiency of the electric generating unit.

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 streamflow to produce electricity.

Commercial Operation: Commercial operation begins when control of the loading of the generator is turned over to the system dispatcher.

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.

Congestion: A condition that occurs when insufficient transfer capacity is available to implement all of the preferred schedules for electricity transmission simultaneously.

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 prices do not fluctuate widely.

Contract Receipts:  Purchases based on a negotiated agreement that generally covers a period of one or more years.

Cooperative Electric Utility: An electric utility legally established to be owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its service. The utility company will generate, transmit, and/or distribute supplies of electric energy to a specified area not being serviced by another utility. Such ventures are generally exempt from Federal income tax laws. Most electric cooperatives have been initially financed by the Rural Electrification Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cost: The amount paid to acquire resources, such as plant and equipment, fuel, or labor services.
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.

Current (Electric): A flow of electrons in an electrical conductor. The strength or rate of movement of the electricity is measured in amperes.

Customer Choice: Allowing all customers to purchase kilowatthours of electricity from any of a number of companies that compete with each other.

 
 
 

D

Day-Ahead Market: The forward market for energy and ancillary services to be supplied during the settlement period of a particular trading day that is conducted by the Independent System Operator, the power exchange, and other Scheduling Coordinators. This market closes with the Independent System Operator'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.

Delivery Only Providers: Owners and/or operators of transmission and distribution system equipment who provide billing and related energy services for the transmission and delivery of electricity.

Demand: 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-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. 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 Management (DSM) covers the complete range of load-shape objectives, including strategic conservation and load management, as well as strategic load growth.

Deregulation: The elimination of regulation from a previously regulated industry or sector of an industry.

Direct Access: The ability of a retail customer to purchase commodity electricity directly from the wholesale market rather than through a local distribution utility.

Distribution: The delivery of electricity to retail customers (including homes, businesses, etc.).
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 that own the transmission and distribution assets.

 
 
 

E

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 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 oversite authority.

Electric Service Provider: An entity that provides electric service to a retail or end-use customer.

Electric Utility: A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns and/or operates facilities within the United States, its territories, or Puerto Rico for the generation, transmission, distribution, or sale of electric energy primarily for use by the public and files forms listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 141. Facilities that qualify as cogenerators or small power producers under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) are not considered electric utilities.

Energy: 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. Most of the world's convertible energy comes from fossil fuels that are burned to produce heat that is then used as a transfer medium to mechanical or other means in order to accomplish tasks. Electrical energy is usually measured in kilowatthours, while heat energy is usually measured in British thermal units.

Energy Charge: That portion of the charge for electric service based upon the electric energy (kWh) consumed or billed.

Energy Deliveries: Energy generated by one electric utility system and delivered to another system through one or more transmission lines.

Energy Efficiency: 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 megawatthours), often without explicit consideration for the timing of program-induced savings. Such savings are generally achieved by substituting technically more advanced equipment to produce the same level of end-use services (e.g. lighting, heating, motor drive) with less electricity. Examples include high-efficiency appliances, efficient lighting programs, high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems or control modifications, efficient building design, advanced electric motor drives, and heat recovery systems.

Energy Only Providers: Power marketers or other electricity vendors who provide an unbundled service and bill for only the energy component of the electricity consumed by the end-use customer.

Energy Receipts: Energy generated by one electric utility system and received by another system through one or more transmission lines.

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.

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 to order and condition access by eligible parties to the interconnected transmission grid.

Exchange Energy: A specific electricity transactions between electric utilities wherein a barter of energy for energy occurs and money is used merely to settle minor imbalances at the end of a stated period.

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.

 
 
 

F

Facility: 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.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): A quasi-independent regulatory agency within the Department of Energy having jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, oil pipeline rates, and gas pipeline certification.

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, whose 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. These parts extended the Act's jurisdiction to include regulating the interstate transmission of electrical energy and rates for its sale as wholesale in interstate commerce. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is now charged with the administration of this law.

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 on 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.

FERC: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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.

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.

Full-Forced Outage: The net capability of main generating units that is unavailable for load for emergency reasons.

Full Service Providers: Utilities, municipalities, cooperatives and others who provide both electricity and the transmission services necessary to deliver it to end use customers.

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.

 
 
 

G

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 watthours (Wh).

Generation Company: 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 generation company is sometimes used to describe a specialized "marketer" for the generating plants formerly owned by a vertically-integrated utility.

Gross Generation: The total amount of electric energy produced by the generating units at a generating station or stations, measured at the generator terminals.

Net Generation: Gross generation less the electric energy consumed at the generating station for station use.

Generator: A machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.

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.

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. The energy is extracted by drilling and/or pumping.

Gigawatt (GW): One billion watts.

Gigawatthour (GWh): One billion watthours.

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: The layout of an electrical distribution system.

Gross Generation: The total amount of electric energy produced by a generating facility, as measured at the generator terminals.

 
 
 

H

Hedging Contracts: Contracts which establish future prices and quantities of electricity independent of the short-term market. Derivatives may be used for this purpose.

Hydroelectric Plant: A plant in which the turbine generators are driven by falling water.

 
 
 

I

Independent Power Producers: Entities that are also considered nonutility power producers in the United States. These facilities are wholesale electricity producers that operate within the franchised service territories of host utilities and are usually authorized to sell at market-based rates. Unlike traditional electric utilities, Independent Power Producers do not possess transmission facilities or sell electricity in the retail market.

Independent System Operators: An independent, Federally-regulated entity that coordinates regional transmission in a non-discriminatory manner and ensures the safety and reliability of the electric system.

Industrial: 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.

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 peakload, 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.

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. For example, loads that can be interrupted to fulfill planning or operation reserve requirements should be reported as Interruptible Load. Interruptible Load as defined here excludes Direct Load Control and Other Load Management. (Interruptible Load, as reported here, is synonymous with Interruptible Demand reported to the North American Electric Reliability Council on the voluntary Form EIA-411, "Coordinated Regional Bulk Power Supply Program Report," with the exception that annual peakload effects are reported on the Form EIA-861 and seasonal (i.e., summer and winter) peakload effects are reported on the EIA-411).

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.

 
 
 

K

Kilowatt (kW): One thousand watts.

Kilowatthour (kWh): One thousand watthours.

 
 
 

L

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.

 
 
 

M

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 relevant opportunities and risks.

Market Clearing Price: The price at which supply equals demand for the Day Ahead and/or Hour Ahead Markets.

Maximum Demand: The greatest of all demands of the load that has occurred within a specified period of time.

Mcf: One thousand cubic feet.

Megawatt (MW): One million watts.

Megawatthour (MWh): One million watthours.

MMcf: One million cubic feet.

Monopoly: One seller of electricity with control over market sales.

 
 
 

N

Natural Gas: A naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon and nonhydrocarbon gases found in porous geological formations beneath the earth's surface, often in association with petroleum. The principal constituent is methane.

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. (Capability is determined by design characteristics, physical conditions, adequacy of prime mover, energy supply, and operating limitations such as cooling and circulating water supply and temperature, headwater and tailwater elevations, and electrical use.)

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 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.

Noncoincidental Peak Load: The sum of two or more peakloads 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.

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 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.

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.

 
 
 

O

Off-Peak Gas: Gas that is to be delivered and taken on demand when demand is not at its peak.

Ohm: The unit of measurement of electrical resistance. The resistance of a circuit in which a potential difference of 1 volt produces a current of 1 ampere.

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.

Outage: The period during which a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility is out of service.

 
 
 

P

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.

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.

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.

Power: The rate at which energy is transferred. Electrical energy is usually measured in watts. Also, used for a measurement of capacity

Power Exchange: The entity that will establish a competitive spot market for electric power through day- and/or hour-ahead auction of generation and demand bids.

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 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 Pool: An association of two or more interconnected electric systems having an agreement to coordinate operations and planning for improved reliability and efficiencies.

Price: The amount of money or consideration-in-kind for which a service is bought, sold, or offered for sale.

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)).

Profit: The income remaining after all business expenses are paid.

Providers of Bundled Retail Energy: Similar to full service providers, except for their operation in deregulated markets, as in Texas (Retail Electricity Providers).

Public Authority Service to Public Authorities: Public authority 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 Street and Highway Lighting: Public street and highway lighting includes electricity supplied and services rendered for the purposes of lighting streets, highways, parks, and other public places; or for traffic or other signal system service, for municipalities, or other divisions or agencies of State or Federal governments.

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 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.

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.

 
 
 

Q

Qualifying Facility (QF): 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

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 following accounting methods: fair value, prudent investment, reproduction cost, or original cost. Depending on which method is used, the rate base includes cash, working capital, materials and supplies, and deductions for accumulated provisions for depreciation, contributions in aid of construction, customer advances for construction, accumulated deferred income taxes, and accumulated deferred investment tax credits.

Reactive Power: The portion of electricity that establishes and sustains the electric and magnetic fields of alternating-current equipment. Reactive power must be supplied to most types of magnetic equipment, such as motors and transformers. Reactive power is provided by generators, synchronous condensers, or electrostatic equipment such as capacitors and directly influences electric system voltage. It is a derived value equal to the vector difference between the apparent power and the real power. It is usually expressed as kilovolt-amperes reactive (kVAR) or megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAR). See Apparent Power, Power, Real Power.

Real Power: The component of electric power that performs work, typically measured in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW)--sometimes referred to as Active Power. The terms "real" or "active" are often used to modify the base term "power" to differentiate it from Reactive Power and Apparent Power. See Apparent Power, Power, Reactive Power.

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.

Receipts: Purchases of fuel.

Regional Transmission Group: 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.

Regulation: The governmental function of controlling or directing economic entities through the process of rulemaking and adjudication.

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.

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 of decades, or perhaps centuries, they can probably be replenished. Renewable energy resources include: biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar and wind. In the future, they could also include the use of ocean thermal, wave, and tidal action technologies. Utility renewable resource applications include bulk electricity generation, on-site electricity generation, distributed electricity generation, non-grid-connected generation, and demand-reduction (energy efficiency) technologies.

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. Regulation could employ the same or different regulatory practices as those used before restructuring.

Reserve Margin (Operating): The amount of unused available capability of an electric power system at peakload for a utility system as a percentage of total capability.

Residential: 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. The classification of an individual consumer's account, where the use is both residential and commercial, is based on principal use. For the residential class, do not duplicate consumer accounts due to multiple metering for special services (water, heating, etc.). Apartment houses are also included.

Residual Fuel Oil: The topped crude of refinery operation, includes No. 5 and No. 6 fuel oils as defined in ASTM Specification D396 and Federal Specification VV-F-815C; Navy Special fuel oil as defined in Military Specification MIL-F-859E including Amendment 2 (NATO Symbol F-77); and Bunker C fuel oil. Residual fuel oil is used for the production of electric power, space heating, vessel bunkering, and various industrial purposes. Imports of residual fuel oil include imported crude oil burned as fuel.

Restructuring: The process of replacing a monopoly system of electric utilities with competing sellers, allowing individual retail customers to choose their electricity supplier but still receive delivery over the power lines of the local utility. It includes the reconfiguration of the vertically-integrated electric utility.

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 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.

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 assets, interest and dividends earned on investments, and other increases in the owner's equity except those arising from capital adjustments.

Risk: The reason a Joint Action Agency was created, to help alleviate financial risk to the small communities who benefit from the hydroelectric projects. SEAPA self-insures all of our overhead and submarine transmission lines. SEAPA also shelters our member utilities from all debt service risk associated with the hydro projects.

For example: We have four submarine cable crossings with four individual conductors at each crossing. It costs about $5 million to replace a single conductor. Not only could the cost of replacing a single conductor be devastating for a single community to pay for, but the expenses of such a failure are three-fold.

If, for example, a submarine cable has failed due an earthquake, the failure potentially has a triple negative financial impact; the cost of the repair, the revenue loss while the line is down, and the isolated community(s) will have to run expensive diesel generators.

R&R- Renewals and Replacements: Projects planned, coordinated, and managed by SEAPA to ensure long-term reliability and availability of hydropower across our interconnected system.

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 that can be available for load within a 30-minute period.

 
 
 

S

Sales: The amount of kilowatthours 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.

Sales for Resale: Energy supplied to other electric utilities, cooperatives, municipalities, and Federal and State electric agencies for resale to ultimate consumers.

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.

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.

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. Fannie Mae performs such a function in the home mortgage market.

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, Title 18, Part 292.)

Spinning Reserve: That reserve generating capacity running at a zero load and synchronized to the electric system.

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.

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.

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: 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 undepreciated generating facilities, deferred costs, and long-term contract costs.

Substation: Facility equipment that switches, changes, or regulates electric voltage.

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.

System (Electric): Physically connected generation, transmission, and distribution facilities operated as an integrated unit under one central management, or operating supervision.

 
 
 

T

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 transformed for distribution to the consumer.

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.

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

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.

Uniform System of Accounts: Prescribed financial rules and regulations established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for utilities subject to its jurisdiction under the authority granted by the Federal Power Act.

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 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's home, business, or farm.

 
 
 

V

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 distribution lines to provide all aspects of electric service.

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.

 
 
 

W

Watt: The electrical unit of power. The rate of energy transfer equivalent to 1 ampere flowing under a pressure of 1 volt at unity power factor.

Watthour (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.

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 Sales: Energy supplied to other electric utilities, cooperatives, municipals, and Federal and State electric agencies for resale to ultimate consumers.

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 Transmission Services: The transmission of electric energy sold, or to be sold, at wholesale in interstate commerce (from EPACT).

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.