Want to know the difference between an ampere and a Btu? You'll find electric and energy-related terms used throughout our website in the table below.
|Ampere||Unit of measurement of electric current, akin to cubic feet of water flowing per second.|
|Base Load||The nearly steady level of demand on a utility system.|
|British Thermal Unit (Btu)||Standard unit of heat measurement, equal to raising one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at sea level pressure.|
|Capacity||The load for which an electric generating unit, other electrical equipment or power line is rated.|
|Certificate of Convenience and Necessity||A term used by public service commissions in granting authority to a company to render utility service, usually specifying the area and other conditions of service.|
|Cogeneration||Joint production of electricity and useful heat/steam from a common source.|
|Conductor||Any material (such as a power line) that allows its electrons to be easily transferred.|
|Demand charge||A separate charge based upon the demand for electric service by a commercial or industrial customer, based on the investment in facilities necessary to serve them.|
|Distribution lines||Power lines, like those in neighborhoods, used to carry moderate voltage electricity which is "stepped down" to household levels by transformers on power poles.|
|Electricity||The motion of electrons through a conductor.|
|Electrostatic precipitators||Pollution control devices attached to fossil fuel generating plants which prevent the vast majority of fly ash from being released into the air.|
|Eminent domain||The authority to acquire land from a private owner for the benefit of public use.|
|Fly ash||Small particles of airborne ash produced by burning fossil fuels.|
|Franchise fee||A local tax imposed on utilities for the privilege of providing a service within city limits.|
|An annual adjustment in rates based on changes in the price of fuel used to generate electricity.|
|High voltage||Voltage greater than 100,000 volts.|
|Kilowatt (kW)||1,000 watts.|
|Kilowatt-hour (kWh)||A unit of electricity consumption. A kilowatt-hour equals the amount of electricity needed to burn ten, 100-watt light bulbs for one hour.|
|Kilovolt (kV)||1,000 volts.|
|Load||The total customer demand for electric service at any given time.|
|Megawatt (mW)||One million watts or 1,000 kilowatts.|
|Natural monopoly||When the cost of utility service, such as gas, water or electric service, is minimized to customers if a single enterprise is the only seller in the market.|
|Off-system sales||Sales by a utility to a customer (usually another utility) outside of its authorized market.|
|Peak demand||A one-hour period in a year representing the highest point of customer consumption of electricity.|
|Power pool||A regional organization of electric companies interconnected for the sharing of reserve generating capacity.|
|Public utility||A business enterprise rendering a service considered essential to the public and, as such, subject to regulation.|
|Scrubbers||Equipment designed to reduce sulfur emissions from coal-fired generating plants.|
|Service area||The territory in which a utility has the right to supply service.|
|Substation||A facility where the voltage of electricity is reduced prior to distribution to customers.|
|Transformer||Equipment vital to the transmission and distribution of electricity designed to increase or decrease voltage.|
|Transmission lines||Power lines normally used to carry high voltage electricity to substations which then is "stepped down" for distribution to individual customers.|
|Volt*||The unit of electromotive force or electric pressure, akin to water pressure in pounds per square inch.|
|Watt*||The electrical unit of power or rate of doing work.|
|*The difference between a watt and a volt can be visualized by imagining water flowing through a hose into a bucket. Voltage is similar to the water pressure in the hose and wattage is the amount of water going into the bucket.|
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