Utility Industry Terms
In this glossary, you will find definitions for words and phrases specific to the rural electric cooperative, the electric power industry, the federal government, and many other associated organizations.
Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS): A depreciation method used for most property placed into service from 1981 to 1986. This method allowed assets to be depreciated at a faster rate than had been allowed previously. The modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) replaced ACRS for assets placed into service after 1986.
Access Charge: In 1996, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published rules to establish open access to electric transmission lines as a major step toward electricity deregulation. A provision of those rules established open-access tariffs that would permit companies to recover part of the “stranded” costs represented by investments in their transmission lines and supporting equipment. At the same time, the rules were designed to assure that companies could not exercise an unfair competitive advantage by charging competing generators or resellers exorbitant rates for access to their lines.
Acid Rain: Also called acid precipitation or acid deposition, acid rain is precipitation containing harmful amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids formed primarily by nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned. It can be wet precipitation (rain, snow, or fog) or dry precipitation (absorbed gaseous and particulate matter, aerosol particles or dust).
Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE): A political action committee that gives financial support to national candidates friendly to rural electric cooperatives.
Administrative and General Expenses (A&G): Expenses of an electric utility relating to the overall directions of its corporate offices and administrative affairs, as contrasted with expenses incurred for specialized functions. Examples include office salaries, office supplies, advertising, and other general expenses.
Aggregator: an entity which aggregates multiple customers for the purpose of negotiating or contracting electricity rates.
All-requirements power contract (ARC): An agreement by which a distribution system agrees to purchase all its wholesale electric power from a single power supplier; primarily used by rural and municipal electric systems.
Alternating current (AC): An electric current which changes direction and strength in a rhythmically repeating cycle.
Alternative fuels: Sources of heat energy other than coal, nuclear power, natural gas or oil used to generate electricity; usually renewable materials such as wood chips, solar power or garbage.
American Public Power Association (APPA): A national trade association for which the membership is primarily comprised of municipal utilities.
Ampere: The unit of measurement of electrical current produced in a circuit by 1 volt acting through a resistance of 1 ohm.
Ancillary Services: electricity purchased by ERCOT for the purpose of guaranteeing transmission of the correct amount of power is available to cover all demand during all periods.
Annual meeting: Once-a-year gathering of members held according to a cooperative’s bylaws for the purpose of electing directors and conducting other business.
Anthracite: A hard, black lustrous coal, often referred to as hard coal, containing a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter.
Articles of incorporation: The documents issued by the state authorizing and empowering the corporation to be formed and to do business within the state. The documents specifying those activities which the corporation may engage.
Ash: Impurities consisting of silica, iron, alumina, and other noncombustible matter that are contained in coal. Ash increases the weight of coal, adds to the cost of handling, and can affect its burning characteristics. Ash content is measured as a percent by weight of coal on an “as received” or a “dry” (moisture-free, usually part of a laboratory analysis) basis.
Automatic Generation Control (AGC): The automatic regulation of the Power output of electric Generators within a prescribed area in response to change in system Frequency, or tie-line loading, so as to maintain the scheduled system frequency or the established interchange with other areas within predetermined levels.
Available but not Needed Capability: Net capability of main generating units that are operable but not considered necessary to carry load, and cannot be connected to load within 30 minutes.
Available Transfer Capability (ATC): A measure of physical transmission network available for further commercial activity.
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.
Avoided Cost: Money a utility saves by purchasing power from another company instead of producing the power itself. Avoided costs include such things as reduced capacity requirements or fuel and lower line costs.
Balancing energy: energy purchased to maintain a stable voltage level and to make up differences between scheduled and actual demand for energy.
Banks for cooperatives: Authorized by Congress to lend to rural utilities in 1973, BC’s lend concurrently with RUS, providing financing in conjunction with the guaranteed loan program and by making direct loans. BC’s include COBANK.
Barrel: A volumetric unit of measure for crude oil and petroleum products equivalent to 42 U.S. gallons.
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.
Base load: The minimum amount of electric power delivered or required from a generating system over a specified period of time; usually measured in megawatts.
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.
Base rate: The portion of the total regulated retail electric tariff which covers all costs of delivering energy other than fuel for generation.
Bbl: The abbreviation for barrel.
Bcf: The abbreviation for 1 billion cubic feet.
Bilateral market: a market where buyers and sellers negotiate contracts with each other for the delivery of energy on terms chosen by those buyers and sellers.
Billing Demand: A charge a customer pays to reserve capacity or facilities used, regardless of the customer’s actual consumption.
Bituminous Coal: The most common coal. It is dense and black (often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material). Its moisture content usually is less than 20 percent. It is used for generating electricity, making coke, and space heating.
Boiler: A device for generating steam for power, processing, or heating purposes or for producing hot water for heating purposes or hot water supply. Heat from an external combustion source is transmitted to a fluid contained within the tubes in the boiler shell. This fluid is delivered to an end-use at a desired pressure, temperature, and quality.
Broadband over power lines (BPL): High-speed Web access over electric power lines.
Btu (British Thermal Unit): A standard unit for measuring the quantity of heat energy equal to the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Bundling: A term referring to the vertical organization of a utility into generation, transmission and distribution segments. Bundling of an electric bill means the consumer is billed just one amount for all components involved in providing electricity.
Bylaws: A set of rules adopted by an organization primarily for the government of its members and regulation of its affairs.
Capacity Margin: Excess electric generating capacity, beyond planned peak system demand. It is reserved for emergencies and generally specified by NERC standards.
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 potential for generating power, measured in kilowatts, of a power plant. Also the electric load, measured in watts or kilowatts, of a piece of electrical equipment or system.
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.
Capital credits: Margins credited to members of a cooperative based on their purchases from the cooperative. Used by the cooperative as working capital for a period of time, then paid back to the membership. Also called patronage capital or equity capital. Capital credits should not be confused with profits, which are a return on capital. Retirement of capital credits is a return of member-furnished capital.
Census divisions: The nine geographic divisions of the United States established by the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, for the purpose of statistical analysis. The boundaries of Census divisions coincide with State boundaries. The Pacific Division is subdivided into the Pacific Contiguous and Pacific Noncontiguous areas.
Certificate of convenience and necessity: A certificate issued by a public utility commission which approves a new service area for a utility, the construction of new transmission lines, or other regulated expansion or construction.
Certificated utility: A utility which has received a certificate of convenience and necessity to operate in a given region.
Certified Cooperative Communicator (CCC): The Certified Cooperative Communicator Program is a voluntary education and certification program for mass communication and marketing communication professionals in the electric co-op industry, and is sponsored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators.
Certified Key Account Executive (CKAE): The purpose of the Certified Key Account Executive Program is to enable participants to develop and fine-tune the necessary skills for managing critical, large-load customer accounts.
CFC: See National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation
Circuit: A conductor or a system of conductors through which electric current flows.
Clean Air Act: A national law passed in 1963 and amended several times since, giving the U.S. government broad powers to limit air pollution.
Clean-air technology: Involves a new generation of emission-control devices that can remove pollutants at coal-fired power plants more efficiently and reliably than scrubbers.
Clean-coal technology: A broad term covering any type of new technology for reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Coal: A black or brownish-black solid combustible substance formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter without access to air. The rank of coal, which includes anthracite, bituminous coal, subbituminous coal, and lignite, is based on fixed carbon, volatile matter, and heating value.
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.
Coke (Petroleum): A residue high in carbon content and low in hydrogen that is the final product of thermal decomposition in the condensation process in cracking. This product is reported as marketable coke or catalyst coke. The conversion factor is 5 barrels (42 U.S. gallons each) per short ton.
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: The commercial sector is generally defined as nonmanufacturing business establishments, including hotels, motels, restaurants, wholesale businesses, retail stores, and health, social, and educational institutions. The utility may classify commercial service as all consumers whose demand or annual use exceeds some specified limit. The limit may be set by the utility based on the rate schedule of the utility.
Commercial Operation: Commercial operation begins when control of the loading of the generator is turned over to the system dispatcher.
Conflict of interest: The occurrence of action by a director which provides a benefit to both the corporation and the individual director.
Congestion revenue rights: A financial instrument allowing the holder to obtain a fixed price for transmission regardless of congestion.
Conservation: Reducing the amount of energy consumed by a customer for a specific end-use. Behavior changes, such as thermostat setback, are included in this definition. This definition does not include changing the timing of energy use, switching to other fuel sources or increasing off-peak usage, even though these actions may make more efficient use of generation or distribution facilities.
Contingency Reserve: Operating reserve that allows a generating facility to reduce control area error to zero within 10 minutes after the loss of generating capacity.
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 1 or more years.
Control Area: Generally, a utility’s service area.
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.
Cooperative (co-op): A member-owned business with membership open to those who use its services. Democratically controlled and operated on a non-profit basis, a cooperative returns any margins to members on the basis of patronage.
Cooperative.com: A private Internet site, designed for the exclusive use of electric co-ops and their affiliates. Employees and directors can share information and knowledge on myriad issues – from legislation and industry trends to upcoming conferences. The Web site is a joint effort of NRECA, NRTC, CFC and Federated Insurance.
Cooperative principles: All cooperative businesses adhere to these seven guiding principles: 1) open and voluntary membership; 2) democratic member control; 3) member economic participation including limited return on investment and return of surplus to members; 4) cooperative autonomy and independence; 5) cooperative education, training and information, 6) cooperation among cooperatives and 7) concern for community.
Cooperative Research Network (CRN): NRECA’s research arm is designed and directed by the electric co-op members to focus on research considered important to their competitive future. The goals are to select research that promotes the strategic position of electric cooperatives; to produce relevant and timely research results; and to communicate this research knowledge more effectively to the members.
Cost: The amount paid to acquire resources, such as plant and equipment, fuel, or labor services.
Cost-based rate: An electric rate structure in which each classification (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) pays its fair share of the cooperative’s cost so that no group subsidizes another.
Cost-of-service rates: for electric power based on covering the cost of building and operating facilities necessary to produce electricity.
Cost of service: The cost of providing a consumer-member with electric service, not including the cost of electricity.
Cove heater: A heating system installed on the wall near the ceiling, combining radiant and convective heat.
Cross-Subsidization: The practice of charging higher rates to one class of customer in order to lower the rates for another class. Also, transferring assets or services from a regulated business to the business of a company’s unregulated affiliate. As used most commonly in the media, a cross-subsidy means the ratepayers are payingfor a non-regulated activity, a no-no from a regulator’s viewpoint.
Customer charge: Sometimes used to recover fixed costs for serving individual customers. These fixed costs are recovered through a flat charge to the customer, regardless of the amount of energy used.
Customer choice: A term used interchangeably with retail wheeling in the electric utility industry. It means customers would have a choice of their power supplier.
Current (Electric): A flow of electrons in an electrical conductor. The strength or rate of movement of the electricity is measured in amperes.
Debt service coverage (DSC): A financial measure relating to a utility’s ability to pay its annual interest and principal repayment obligations on long term debt.
Debt-to-equity ratio: The amount a system owes in relation to the amount it owns.
Demand: The amount of electricity drawn from an electric system at a given time, measured in kilowatts.
Demand charge: A charge for electricity based on the maximum amount of a system’s electricity a customer uses. Demand is measured in kilowatts.
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.
Department of Energy (DOE): A government agency with the overarching mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the US; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex.
Distillate Fuel Oil: A general classification for one of the petroleum fractions produced in conventional distillation operations. It is used primarily for space heating, on-and-off-highway diesel engine fuel (including railroad engine fuel and fuel for agriculture machinery), and electric power generation. Included are Fuel Oils No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4; and Diesel Fuels No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4.
Distributed generation: The production of electricity on the site of end use, especially at small office buildings, hospitals, homes, and small businesses.
Distribution System: The portion of an electric system that is dedicated to delivering electric energy to an end user.
Direct access: The ability of a retail customer to purchase electricity directly from the wholesale market rather than through the local distribution utility.
Direct current (DC): An electric current which does not change direction or strength over time.
Dispersed generation: Small, decentralized generators such as diesel or combustion turbines, designed to supplement or replace power generated at large generating plants. Typically located at or near the point of use.
Distribution cooperative: An electric cooperative that purchases wholesale power and delivers it to consumer-members.
Distribution company (DISCO): A utility providing power distribution services. Also called a wires company. Most electric cooperatives that don’t own transmission or generation equipment are already DISCOs.
Distribution system: The poles, wire, and transformers used to deliver electric energy from a bulk power supplier to the consumer.
Diversification: Any business endeavor that is outside the core function or mission of the business.
Duty of care: The requirement that a director of a corporation must perform his/her duties in good faith, in a manner he/she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation, and with such care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances.
Duty of loyalty: The requirement that a person serving on the board of directors of a corporation owes allegiance first to that corporate entity.
Duty of obedience: The requirement that a director must be aware of any special obligations or requirements in the law, the charter, the bylaws, or other contractual relationships that govern the corporation’s activities, and to obey those obligations and requirements.
Easement: An agreement allowing a utility to use property belonging to another individual or organization for a specific purpose, such as building a transmission line.
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBIDTA): An approximate measure of a company’s operating cash flow based on data from the company’s income statement. Calculated by looking at earnings before the deduction of interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This earnings measure is of particular interest in cases where companies have large amounts of fixed assets which are subject to heavy depreciation charges (such as manufacturing companies) or in the case where a company has a large amount of acquired intangible assets on its books and is thus subject to large amortization charges (such as a company that has purchased a brand or a company that has recently made a large acquisition). Since the distortionary accounting and financing effects on company earnings do not factor into EBIDTA, it is a good way of comparing companies within and across industries.
Edison Electric Institute (EEI): A national trade association of investor-owned utilities and electric-utility holding companies; based in Washington, D.C. www.eei.org
Electric Cooperative Bar Association: Competent legal counsel, particularly legal counsel with expertise in cooperative and cooperative utility law, is a necessity for cooperative electric utilities, especially in an era of industry restructuring. The Electric Cooperative Bar Association is a professional network within the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Membership is comprised of attorneys representing or working extensively with the electric cooperative members of NRECA. www.co-opbar.com
Electric Cooperative Business Network: A unified, economic network to bring opportunities to electric cooperatives to better address their needs through economies of scale and timely information. The technical platform that facilitates the interaction of the network is Cooperative.com that provides education, communication and information sharing. www.cooperative.com
Energy Information Administration (EIA): an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy that collects and analyzes statistical information. It provides a wealth of information at www.eia.doe.gov. It also gathers required information from industry participants. www.eia.doe.gov
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): A non profit research organization supported by the nation’s electric utilities. Its purpose is to develop and manage a technology program for improving electric power production, transmission and distribution utilization in an environmentally acceptable manner. www.epri.com
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 System Losses: The total energy losses in an electric system between supply sources and delivery points. Loss occurs in transmission and distribution, primarily in the form of heat.
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.
Embedded Costs: The cost of all the facilities in an electric or natural gas supply system. Also called sunken costs, because the money cannot be recovered by abandoning the project.
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 Policy Act: Legislation enacted in 1992 which loosened certain constraints of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act, mandated open access to the nation’s transmission grid and prevented the federal government from ordering retail wheeling.
Energy receipts: Energy generated by one electric utility system and received by another system through one or more transmission lines.
Energy services company: An unregulated entity which offers customers various pricing options and contracts, information services and electric appliance and applications equipment or financing.
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.
Equity: The total amount of owner contributed capital, including patronage capital, membership fees and donated capital.
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 co-generator, the facility includes the industrial or commercial process.
Facilities charge: That portion of an electric bill based upon the costs of making electric service available to the consumer.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): A government agency within the Department of Energy which regulates the transmission of natural gas, oil by pipeline and wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce; licenses and inspects private, municipal and state hydroelectric projects; and oversees related environmental matters. It replaced the Federal Power Commission. www.ferc.fed.us.
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.
Federated Insurance: offers a range of insurance products to electric cooperatives.
Firm Gas: Gas sold on a continuous and generally long-term contract.
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.
Flue Gas Desulfurization Unit (Scrubber): Equipment used to remove sulfur oxides from the combustion gases of a boiler plant before discharge to the atmosphere. Chemicals, such as lime, are used as the scrubbing media.
Flue Gas Particulate Collectors: Equipment used to remove fly ash from the combustion gases of a boiler plant before discharge to the atmosphere. Particulate collectors include electrostatic precipitators, mechanical collectors (cyclones), fabric filters (baghouses), and wet scrubbers.
Fly Ash: Particulate matter from coal ash in which the particle diameter is less than 1 x 10-4 meter. This is removed from the flue gas using flue gas particulate collectors such as fabric filters and electrostatic precipitators.
Forced Outage: The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line or other facility, for emergency reasons or a condition in which the generating equipment is unavailable for load due to unanticipated breakdown.
Fossil Fuel: Any naturally occurring organic fuel, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.
Fossil-Fuel Plant: A plant using coal, petroleum, or gas as its source of energy.
Fuel: Any substance that can be burned to produce heat; also, materials that can be fissioned in a chain reaction to produce heat.
Fuel Expenses: These costs include the fuel used in the production of steam or driving another prime mover for the generation of electricity. Other associated expenses include unloading the shipped fuel and all handling of the fuel up to the point where it enters the first bunker, hopper, bucket, tank, or holder in the boiler-house structure.
Fuel Factor: That portion of regulated electric tariffs which pay for the cost of fuel in the generation process.
Fuel Surcharge: An additional charge imposed to make up past differences between fuel factor and the actual cost of fuel in a regulated rate such as price to beat.
Full-Forced Outage: The net capability of main generating units that is unavailable for load for emergency reasons.
Firm energy/service: A contract to deliver energy to a retail customer regardless of the cost of acquisition to the provider.
First in, first out: A method of retiring capital credits where the earliest credits are retired first.
Fixed costs: Expenses that stay the same regardless of other expenses or the level of sales. A distribution cooperative’s fixed costs would include rent, utilities, taxes and depreciation on buildings.
Franchise: The right or license granted to a utility to market its services and products in a particular territory.
G&T: A generation and transmission cooperative. A power supply cooperative owned by a group of distribution cooperatives. G&Ts generate power or purchase it from public-or investor-owned utilities, or both.
Gas: A fuel burned under boilers and by internal combustion engines for electric generation. These include natural, manufactured and waste gas.
Gas Turbine Plant: A plant in which the prime mover is a gas turbine. A gas turbine consists typically of an axial-flow air compressor, one or more combustion chambers, where liquid or gaseous fuel is burned and the hot gases are passed to the turbine and where the hot gases expand to drive the generator and are then used to run the compressor.
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).
• 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.
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.
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.
Generating plant: A facility where the equipment to convert mechanical, chemical and/or nuclear energy into electric energy is located.
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.
Grassroots: Refers to electric cooperative activists – directors, managers, employees and consumer-owners – who take an active role in the political process to protect their co-op from harmful legislation and regulation, as well as to promote the value of co-op ownership to their legislators.
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.
Guaranteed loan: A long term loan made by the Federal Financing Bank, generally to a generation and transmission cooperative but may also be made to a distribution system, for which the repayment of the loan is guaranteed by the Rural Utilities Service.
Hardship loan: A 35-year, long term loan made by the Rural Utilities Service to a distribution system borrower at a fixed interest rate of 5 percent.
Heavy Oil: The fuel oils remaining after the lighter oils have been distilled off during the refining process. Except for start-up and flame stabilization, virtually all petroleum used in steam plants is heavy oil.
Hydroelectric Plant: A plant in which the turbine generators are driven by falling water.
Independent power producer (IPP): A private entity that generates electricity and sells it to other businesses including utilities.
Independent system operator (ISO): A neutral operator responsible for maintaining instantaneous balance of the grid system by controlling the dispatch of flexible power plants to ensure that loads match resources available.
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 peak load, or the load over a specified time period.
Internal Combustion Plant: A plant in which the prime mover is an internal combustion engine. An internal combustion engine has one or more cylinders in which the process of combustion takes place, converting energy released from the rapid burning of a fuel-air mixture into mechanical energy. Diesel or gas-fired engines are the principal types used in electric plants. The plant is usually operated during periods of high demand for electricity.
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.
Investor-owned utility (IOU): A stockholder-owned power company that generates and distributes electric energy for a profit.
Key account: Any cooperative load deemed vital to the financial well being of the cooperative.
Kilowatt (kW): One thousand watts.
Kilowatt-hour (kWh): A unit of energy or work equal to 1,000 watt-hours. The basic measure of electric energy generation. A 100-watt light bulb burning for 10 hours uses one kilowatt-hour.
Large non-residential: An end user with peak demand of over one megawatt.
Light Oil: Lighter fuel oils distilled off during the refining process. Virtually all petroleum used in internal combustion and gas-turbine engines is light oil.
Lignite: A brownish-black coal of low rank with high inherent moisture and volatile matter (used almost exclusively for electric power generation). It is also referred to as brown coal.
Load (Electric): The amount of electric power delivered or required at any specific point or points on a system. The requirement originates at the energy-consuming equipment of the consumers.
Load factor: The ratio of average demand to peak demand. It is a measure of efficiency that indicates whether a system’s electrical use over a period of time is reasonably stable or if it has extreme peaks and valleys. A high load factor usually results in a lower average price per kilowatt-hour than a low load factor.
Locational marginal pricing: A process by which congestion and power transmission costs being handled on a line-by-line basis.
Margin: The difference between a cooperative’s income and its expenses; returned to members in the form of capital credits as the cooperative’s financial status allows.
Market-based rates: Rates for electric power generation based solely on what can be obtained in an open, competitive marketplace. This differs from cost-of-service rates, which are tied to building and operating facilities necessary to producing electricity.
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): Equal to 1,000 kilowatts or 1 million watts.
Megawatt-hour (mWh): Equal to 1,000 kilowatt-hours or 1 million watt-hours.
Member: Someone who receives power from an electric co-op. Use instead of customers.
Mill: One-tenth of a cent. Used as a measure of electric energy bought and sold.
MMcf: One million cubic feet.
Municipal rate loan: A long term loan made by the Rural Utilities Service to a distribution borrower for which the interest rate is tied to the municipal bond rate for comparable maturities. For some RUS borrowers, the interest rate may be capped at 7 percent.
Municipal utility: An entity owned by the city government which usually, but not always, sells utility services to the citizens within the boundaries of that city.
National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for wide-spread pollutants from numerous and diverse sources considered harmful to public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act requires periodic review of the science upon which the standards are based and the standards themselves. EPA has set NAAQS for six principal pollutants, which are called “criteria” pollutants. They are: Ozone, Particulate Matter, Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxides, and Lead.
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC): An association of federal and state regulatory commissioners who have jurisdiction over utilities, motor carriers and common carriers. www.nrri.ohio-state.edu
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC): An organization formed in 1968 and incorporated in 1975 to address issues related to the reliability and adequacy of bulk power supply of the electric utility systems in North America. www.nerc.com
National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC): This national cooperative handles electric billing data, mapping and costing, wireless billing and telecommunication services. www.nisc.cc
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the Department of Energy’s premier laboratory for renewable energy research, development and deployment, and a leading laboratory for energy efficiency.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA): The Arlington, Virginia-based national service organization dedicated to representing the national interests of consumer-owned cooperative electric utilities and the consumers they serve. Official publication is Rural Electric Magazine. Also publishes Electric Co-op TODAY. www.nreca.coop
National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC): A national service cooperative founded in 1986 to provide affordable comprehensive telecommunications services to the 25 million consumers living in rural areas of the United States. www.nrtc.coop
National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC): Established as a cooperative wholly owned and controlled by its members in 1969, CFC offers full-service financing, investment, and related services to more than 1,000 members systems and affiliates. An independent source of financing that supplements the credit programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and provides financing and business assistance to non-RUS borrowers. www.nrucfc.coop
Natural Gas: A naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon 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, 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 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.
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 co-generators, qualifying small power producers, and other nonutility generators (including independent power producers) without a designated franchised service area.
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: Permitting wholesale power suppliers and sellers to move their power over the transmission lines of other utilities.
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.
Peak demand: The maximum load during a specified period of time.
Peak load: The amount of electric power required by a consumer or a system during peak demand; measured in kilowatts or megawatts.
Peak load plant: A plant usually housing old, low-efficiency steam units; gas turbines; diesels; or pumped-storage hydroelectric equipment normally used during the peak-load periods.
Peak-load pricing: A system of charging higher rates for power used during high-use periods to discourage use at those times and reduce a system’s peak demand.
Peak-shaving plant: A power plant designed to operate during the system’s high-use period to reduce power supply shortages and demand charges.
Peaking unit: Part of an electric generating plant used only at high-use periods to provide sufficient electric capacity for the system to meet its peak demand.
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.
Performance-based ratemaking: An alternative form of rate setting which allows utilities to earn profits above regulated levels by exceeding efficiency and cost-cutting targets.
Petroleum: A mixture of hydrocarbons existing in the liquid state found in natural underground reservoirs, often associated with gas. Petroleum includes fuel oil No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6; topped crude; Kerosene; and jet fuel.
Petroleum (Crude Oil): A naturally occurring, oily, flammable liquid composed principally of hydrocarbons. Crude oil is occasionally found in springs or pools but usually is drilled from wells beneath the earth’s surface.
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 broker: An entity which facilitates the buying and selling of wholesale energy between two or more parties but does not take possession of the energy.
Power generation company: A firm which owns and operates generating capacity with the intent of selling power into the market.
Power marketer: An entity which buys and sells wholesale energy.
Power marketing administrations (PMAs): The umbrella term for the Alaska Power Administration (APA), Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA), the Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). The federally owned PMAs sell power produced at federal hydropower projects, giving first priority to consumer-owned systems such as co-ops or municipals and making that power available at the cost of production under the Preference Principle.
Primary Voltage Level: The level of voltage used to transfer electricity within the grid, delivered to an end user.
Publicly owned utilities (POU): A utility that is collectively owned by citizens of the area served by the utility. Public electric utilities include co-ops, municipal and energy and power marketing authorities.
Public Utilities Holding Company Act (PUHCA): Legislation enacted in 1935 to respond to the problems associated with the growth of public-utility holding company systems in the first quarter of this century.
Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA): Legislation enacted in 1978 to encourage energy conservation, increase utility efficiency and ensure equitable rates to consumers.
Power: The rate at which energy is transferred. Electrical energy is usually measured in watts. Also used for a measurement of capacity.
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.
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.
Pulse metering: The metering of electricity where power usage is monitored and recorded, along with energy usage.
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.
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) and has the right under law to sell excess power into the grid at avoided cost.
Rate: The cost per kilowatt-hour for electricity.
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.
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.
Rate class: A group of consumers sharing common characteristics who are subject to the same rate schedule or tariff.
Rate of return: The ratio of operating income and interest expense to a specified rate base.
Rate schedule or tariff: An explanation of a utility’s charges to consumers related to the consumption and demand for electric energy.
Redispatching: The reduction of generation by one generating facility coupled with an increase in generation by another, for the purpose of mitigating congestion.
Regulation: The governmental function of controlling or directing economic entities through the process of rulemaking and adjudication.
Reliability: A utility’s ability to deliver uninterrupted electricity to its consumers.
Renewable energy: Any source of energy which can be replenished, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and landfill natural gas.
Reserve Margin (Operating): The amount of unused available capability of an electric power system at peak load for a utility system as a percentage of total capability.
Residential: 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.
Restricted-Universe Census: This is the complete enumeration of data from a specifically defined subset of entities including, for example, those that exceed a given level of sales or generator nameplate capacity.
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 wheeling: A transaction allowing a retail customer of one utility to contract for energy generated by another utility and transmitted through the lines of the retail customer’s native utility.
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.
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
Rural electric cooperative (REC): One of the individual, consumer-owned businesses organized to bring central-station electric service to rural people after Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. As with other cooperative businesses, any margins return to the consumers according to the amount of business conducted with the cooperative.
Rural Electrification Act: Legislation signed by President Roosevelt on May 20, 1936 establishing the Rural Electrification Administration.
Rural Utilities Service (RUS) (formally the Rural Electrification Administration): The U.S. Department of Agriculture agency that lends money to the nation’s consumer-owned electric and telephone cooperatives and offers engineering and accounting assistance.
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.
Scheduled Outage: The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility, for inspection or maintenance, in accordance with an advance schedule.
Service area: The geographic region that a utility is required to serve, or has the exclusive right to serve, in supplying electricity to the ultimate consumer.
SERVCO: A federation of cooperatives that provide diversified services to distribution cooperatives so that they, in turn, can provide those services to their members.
Short Ton: A unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds.
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.
Standard Market Design: An initiative by FERC to establish a consistent set of market rules in the electric industry across the U.S.
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.
Statewide associations: A service organization for electric cooperatives in one or more states. They provide a unified voice for member systems in their respective states before general publics, legislative and regulatory bodies. Thirty-two electric cooperative statewide organizations provide common communication to members through statewide publications.
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 costs: Costs that a utility prudently incurred to serve customers that it was obligated to serve, but, are now unrecoverable from those customers due to their choice of another provider.
Subbituminous Coal: Subbituminous coal, or black lignite, is dull black and generally contains 20 to 30 percent moisture. The heat content of subbituminous coal ranges from 16 to 24 million Btu per ton as received and averages about 18 million Btu per ton. Subbituminous coal, mined in the western coal fields, is used for generating electricity and space heating.
Substation: Facility equipment that switches, changes, or regulates electric voltage.
Sulfur: One of the elements present in varying quantities in coal which contributes to environmental degradation when coal is burned. In terms of sulfur content by weight, coal is generally classified as low (less than or equal to 1 percent), medium (greater than 1 percent and less than or equal to 3 percent), and high (greater than 3 percent). Sulfur content is measured as a percent by weight of coal on an :q.as received:eq. or a :q.dry:eq. (moisture-free, usually part of a laboratory analysis) basis.
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.
Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER): A ratio of margins to long-term interest expense, indicating the ability of a cooperative to meet financial obligations. TIER equals long-term interest plus margins divided by long-term interest. A cooperative with interest costs of $100,000 and margins of $150,000 has a TIER of 2.5. TIER is acceptable on all references.
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.
Touchstone Energy ®: is a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to customers, large and small. Touchstone Energy provides a brand with core values that consumers have long associated with cooperatives: integrity, accountability, innovation, and a longstanding commitment to their communities. Through the brand, an emphasis is placed on each electric cooperative’s local presence and unique ties to the community. www.touchstoneenergy.coop
Transmission: The process of moving bulk electricity from where it is generated to where it is used.
Transmission constraints: The limitation of power transmission to the capacity of existing lines.
Transmission and distribution facility: Any capital good used to transmit energy between the generator and the final user.
Transmission and distribution utility: The utility which owns transmission and distribution facilities in a certain region.
Transmission line: The poles, lines and conductors used to move bulk electricity from a generating plant to a substation.
Transmission system: All the lines, poles and other equipment used to move bulk electricity from a generating plant to a distribution system.
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.
Unbundling: Splitting the operations of an electric utility into separate generation, transmission and distribution companies. An unbundled electric bill may itemize the charges associated with providing electricity to the customer.
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.
Universal service: Electric service sufficient to meet basic needs available to virtually all members of the population regardless of income.
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.
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.
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 Sales: Energy supplied to other electric utilities, cooperatives, municipals, and Federal and State electric agencies for resale to ultimate consumers.
Wholesale competition: A system in which a distributor of power would have the option to buy power for resale from a variety of power producers.
Wholesale customer: A power purchaser that buys for resale to retail customers