PSC Energy Glossary


NEW YORK'S COMPETITIVE ENERGY MARKETPLACE

-- GLOSSARY --

ACCESS CHARGE

A fee paid by a user to a local distribution company for the ability to send or receive electricity or natural gas through its transmission or distribution systems.

AGGREGATOR

An agent or broker that organizes customers into a group to purchase natural gas or services.

AVOIDED COST

The cost a local distribution company would otherwise incur to generate power to buy the same amount of power if it did not purchase from a qualifying facility.

BALANCING

A process that compares actual customer gas use with the amount of natural gas delivered to a local distribution company during a special time period (e.g., daily or monthly). The differences (either over or under) between these two amounts are called imbalances.

BYPASS

A situation that allows a customer to purchase full or partial electricity or natural gas service from a non-utility supplier instead of a local distribution company.

CAPACITY

An amount of electricity that would be available from a generating unit, local distribution company or system. Capacity is valued in units of energy such as megawatts for electrical power or cubic feet for natural gas.

CENTUM CUBIC FEET (CCF)

100 cubic feet; standard measurement for industrial consumption of gas or water .

CITYGATE

The point where the systems of an interstate pipeline and a local gas distribution company meet.

COGENERATION

A source that generates electricity and also provides steam or other energy for industrial or commercial uses.

COMMODITY

A product for sale.

COMMODITY COST

The cost of commodity (natural gas or electricity) and related charges to deliver it to the marketplace.

CORE CUSTOMER

A customer who depends on a local distribution company for the delivery of energy or services. This customer generally does not have alternatives to buy energy from a non-utility supplier.

COST BASED PRICING

Prices set on the fees charged by the providers instead of market prices.

COST BASED REGULATION

Adjustment of rates based on costs rather than market prices.

COST OF SERVICE

The cost to a local distribution company to provide service to its customers.

CUSTOMER OBLIGATIONS

The responsibilities that a customer has such as paying bills, maintaining safety of a natural gas or electric hook up, and preventing theft of service.

DELIVERABILITY

The amount of natural gas that a well, production field, pipeline or distribution system can deliver in a given period.

DEMAND (OR LOAD)

The amount of electricity that must be generated to meet the needs of all customers at a certain point in time..

DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT (DSM)

The planning, executing and monitoring of utility activities designed to help customers use electricity more efficiently.

DISTRIBUTION

The delivery of electricity to an end-user through low-voltage lines or natural gas through pipeline systems.

DIVESTITURE

The separation of a utility's generation or transmission functions into smaller, individually owned businesses.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ZONE (EDZ)

An area that has been designated by Empire State Development to offer businesses financial opportunities. Electric and natural gas utilities provide discounts to customers in these zones.

END-USER

A retail customer of a natural gas or electricity product or service.

ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 1992 (EPAct)

A federal law designed to open the United States electric industry into a competitive marketplace by removing barriers that were set by another law, the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935.

ENERGY SERVICE COMPANY (ESCO)

A non-utility business that provides gas or electric commodity or that installs energy efficient and other demand side management measures in facilities.

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATION COMMISSION (FERC)

The federal agency that regulates the price, terms, and conditions of energy sold through interstate commerce and all transmission services.

FIRM PURCHASE

A purchase of electricity or natural gas by one utility from another under contract, arranged in advance of delivery.

FIXED COST

Costs that do no vary in relation to the amount of service provided.

FLEXIBLE RATE

An economic incentive rate designed by the New York State Public Service Commission that allows a local distribution company to negotiate discounted costs with industrial or large commercial customers.

GENERATION

A process which produces electricity.

GREEN POWER

Energy produced from renewable or non-polluting and non-hazardous technologies.

GRID

A system of power lines and generators that are coordinated to deliver electricity to customers at various points.

INDEPENDENT POWER PRODUCER (IPP)

A company other than a utility that generates electricity. Also referred to as a non-utility supplier.

INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OPERATOR (ISO)

An entity that monitors the reliability of the power system and coordinates the supply of electricity around the state.

LOAD POCKET

An area served by local generators when the existing transmission system cannot import sufficient power to meet local demand.

LOAD FORECAST

An estimate of the level of future energy needs.

LOCAL DISTRIBUTION COMPANY (LDC)

The utility company that provides the distribution, customer and energy services for natural gas and electricity.

LOAD MANAGEMENT

Utility activities designed to influence the timing and amount of electricity that customers may use.

LOAD SHIFTING

A type of load management that shifts use from peak to off-peak periods, such as using storage water heating and space heating.

MARGINAL COST

The cost that it takes to produce an additional energy unit, or the cost saved by not producing such unit.

MARKETER

An agent who arranges deals to sell electricity or natural gas for a customer and provides other services.

MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITIES (MUNIs) AND COOPERATIVES

MUNIs - electric or gas utility enterprises owned and operated by a municipal government. Cooperatives - electric or gas utility enterprise with ownership vested in members of the cooperative.

NATURAL GAS ACT (NGA)

Federal law enacted in 1938 that established FERC's authority to regulate interstate pipelines.

NATURAL GAS POLICY ACT (NGPA)

Federal law that updated the NGA and set guidelines for deregulation of new gas supplies and continued regulation of old supplies.

NEW GAS

Gas produced from new formations and fields or drilling after February 1977.

NEW YORK POWER AUTHORITY (NYPA)

A public authority created by law that generates and transmits electricity for wholesale and retail customers in the state. It is not subject to the jurisdiction of the New York State Public Service Commission.

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE (NYDPS, DPS)

A state agency established by law with oversight responsibilities regarding the operation of regulated monopoly utilities.

NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (NYSPSC, PSC)

A five-member Commission within the Department of Public Service with the authority to implement provisions of the Public Service Law.

NON-CORE CUSTOMER

A Customer that has several fuel choices and does not rely solely on  utilities as a resource for continued heat and other energy services.

NON-UTILITY SUPPLIER

A company other than a utility that provides natural gas or electricity.

OBLIGATION TO SERVE

The obligation of a local distribution company to provide natural gas or electric to any customer who requests it and is willing to pay the rates established for such service.

OFF-PEAK

A period of time when there is a low demand for electricity on a utility's generation system.

ON-PEAK

A period of time when there is a high demand for electricity on a utility's generation system.

PROVIDER OF LAST RESORT

A legal obligation, traditionally given to utilities, to provide service to a customer when competitors have chosen not to provide service.

PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY POLICY ACT (PURPA)

A 1978 federal law that requires utilities to buy power from eligible cogeneration sources, small hydro or waste-fueled facilities, under contracts at an avoided cost rate. The utilities also must provide a back up supply of electricity to customers who choose self-generation.

QUALIFYING FACILITY (QF)

A small power producer or generator using cogeneration or renewable resources that meets the criteria set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

RECEIPT POINTS

Locations on the interstate pipeline system where natural gas can enter the pipeline system for delivery to the local utility citygate for distribution by the local distribution company to customers.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Derived from resources that are naturally regenerative or are practically inexhaustible (ex. biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, wind).

RENEWABLE RESOURCE (RENEWABLE)

An energy source that provides an alternative to oil, gas or coal for the generation of electricity.

RESERVE

The availability of additional generation. Installed reserve is the amount of existing generation that is higher than needed to meet a forecasted peak load. Operating reserve is the amount of generation that may be used to offset a loss of supply to maintain a power system.

RETAIL COMPETITION

A market that allows more than one energy provider to sell directly to customers and, where customers have the choice of buying from more than one provider.

SALES CUSTOMER

A customer who buys natural gas or electricity with a package of other services from a local distribution company.

SPOT MARKET

A market option that offers short-term contracts for set amounts of natural gas or electricity..

STRANDED COSTS

Prudent costs that a utility has an obligation to pay for (e.g., long-term contracts or payments on a generation plant) that may not be recoverable due to obsolescence or market changes.

STORAGE

The placement of utility-owned gas in underground facilities during the summer, when demand is low, that is withdrawn for the winter when gas consumption is higher.

TARIFF

A document that lists the rates, terms and conditions of a local distribution company's services that are subject to review and approval by the New York State Public Service Commission.

THERM

100,000 Btu, 97 cubic feet, or 29.3 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy; unit of heat .

TIME OF USE (TOU) RATES

Rates that are designed to reflect changes in a local distribution company's cost of providing service that change by season or time of day. There are two types of time of use rates: mandatory which is required for normally high use customers; and voluntary which is available for any customer who wants to participate in the program.

TRANSMISSION/TRANSPORTATION

The delivery of electricity or natural gas transportation from a generation plant or pipeline to another facility. Or, the transfer of energy between utility systems.

TRANSPORTATION CUSTOMER

A customer who uses a local distribution company's natural gas pipeline and distribution system but buys the natural gas commodity from a different supplier.

TYPES OF ELECTRIC SERVICE

FIRM -- The delivery of electricity by a company on a continuous basis. Residential and smaller commercial customers generally use this service. INTERRUPTIBLE -- The delivery of electricity to a customer that may be interrupted by the local distribution company generally because of system supply or capacity limitations.

TYPES OF NATURAL GAS

FIRM -- The delivery of gas to a customer on a continuous basis. Residential and smaller commercial customers generally use this service. INTERRUPTIBLE -- The delivery of gas to a customer that may be interrupted by the local distribution company generally because of system supply or capacity limitations. OFF-PEAK OR SEASONAL -- The delivery of gas, firm or interruptible, sold only during certain times of the year, generally when there are not high system demands.

UNBUNDLING

The separation of the prices or services offered by a local distribution company's rates.

WHEELING

The transmission of electricity by a company that does not own or directly use the power to various customers.

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This page last modified 11/17/14 01:00:28 PM