Glossary of Electric Terms

Aggregator - an entity that brings customers together to buy electricity in bulk in order to increase customers’ buying power.

Broker - a retail agent who buys and sells power. The agent may also aggregate customers and arrange for transmission and other ancillary services.

Cogeneration - the co-production of power and useful heat commonly used in large industrial process plants.

Competitive Transition Assessment - the fee assessed on all customers of each electric distribution company to allow the utilities to recover stranded costs and other charges authorized by the PURA.

Connecticut Energy Assistance Program - a program designed to help low-income households pay their winter heating bills.

Connecticut Innovations, Inc. - the organization that administers the development plan and expenditure of funds for the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

Consumer Education Advisory Council - the advisory board for the Consumer Education Outreach Program. Its membership consists of representatives from state agencies, electric distribution companies and suppliers, community and business organizations, and consumer groups representing various segments of the population including, but not limited to, hardship customers.

Consumer Education Outreach Program - the public education program developed by PURA to educate customers about the implementation of retail competition among electric suppliers.

Customer service charge - the monthly charge that covers such items as customer billing and meter reading.

Default service - the electric generation service provided to any electric consumer who does not obtain electric generation service from a competitive electric supplier or who has terminated service from a competitive electric supplier. Begins on January 1, 2004.

Delivery charges - the charges on an electric customer’s bill that cover carrying the electricity through the transmission and distribution system from the generating company to the customer’s home or business.

Demand side management - Conservation resource planning considering factors affecting energy usage for each customer class and generally designed to reduce or shift load.

Deregulation – term sometimes used to describe restructuring. Restructuring will deregulate only the generation of electricity, while the delivery of power will remain regulated.

Direct access - the ability of the retail customer to purchase/contract directly with an electric generation supplier rather than through the traditional local distribution utility.

Divestiture - the separation of one utility function from others by selling or changing ownership of assets related to that function. Most commonly associated with the selling of generation assets so they are no longer owned by the same shareholders that own the transmission and distribution assets.

Electric generation company - a company that generates/produces electricity for sale in a competitive market.

Electric supplier - an entity licensed by PURA to provide electric generation services to end use customers using the transmission and distribution facilities of an electric distribution company.

Electric distribution company - the company that delivers electricity to the retail customer’s home or business.  This company owns the power lines, poles, wires, conduits or other fixtures needed to handle the transmission and distribution of the electricity along public highways or streets.

Electric generation - the production of electricity from a power plant.

Electric restructuring - the elimination of regulation from the generation portion of the electric industry, thus, opening the market to competitive electric generation companies. The legal, regulatory and business practices that are bringing competition to the electric utility industry.

Electric transmission -the delivery of electricity from a generator to a local distribution company over high-voltage power lines.

Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund - the fund established to develop and implement cost-effective energy conservation programs and market transformation initiatives. The PURA approves any programs under the ECLMF. Funding is provided by the conservation and load management program charge on electric customers’ bills.

Energy Conservation Management Board - the board that advises and assists the electric distribution companies in the development and implementation of the Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund.

FERC - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates the price, terms and conditions of power sold in interstate commerce and regulates the price, terms and conditions of all transmission services.  FERC is the federal counterpart to state utility regulatory commissions.

Fuel adjustment - recovers the difference between CL&P's and UI's total actual fuel cost and the amount of fuel revenue the companies recover in each kWh of sales.

Fuel assistance programs - programs that provide assistance to qualifying individuals or households in making their payments for primary heat in the winter months.

Function – a discreet portion of an integrated business activity. For electricity the relevant functions are generation, transmission and distribution.

Green power - electricity produced by environmentally friendly sources like sun, wind, water, biomass (the burning of agricultural or other wastes), and geothermal (heat from the earth).

Grid - the network/system of interconnected power lines and generators that is managed so that power is dispatched as needed to meet the requirements of the customers connected to the grid at various points.

Independent System Operator (ISO) - a neutral operator responsible for maintaining instantaneous balance of the grid system.  The ISO performs its function by controlling the dispatch of flexible plants to ensure that loads match resources available to the system.

Kilowatt-hour - (kWh) a measure of electricity consumption equivalent to the use of 1,000 watts of power over a period of one hour.

Load management - the shifting of customer energy demands for a utility’s power to different time periods of the day.

NEPOOL - the New England Power Pool is a voluntary association of entities that are engaged in the electric power business in New England.  The NEPOOL members include investor-owned electric utility systems, municipal and consumer-owned systems, joint marketing agencies, power marketers, load aggregators, generation owners and end users.

Office of Consumer Counsel – an independent state agency that works to ensure that all Connecticut consumers receive the highest level of utility services with the lowest cost.

Operation Fuel and local fuel banks - Operation Fuel is a private, non-profit energy assistance program for people who need emergency help with energy bills and are not eligible for state or federal assistance. Similar programs are available in many localities.

Power pool - An arrangement by two or more utilities to coordinate the operation of their generation and transmission that is managed by the ISO.

Power sources - the fuels that are used to produce electricity.

Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) - the agency of state government that regulates the public utilities of gas, electric, water, telecommunications, and cable television.

Renewable energy - solar energy, wind, ocean thermal energy, wave or tidal energy, fuel cells, landfill gas and biomass conversion technologies are considered renewable energy sources.

Renewable Energy Investment Fund - The fund created to promote competitive investment for the generation of electricity in renewable energy sources. REIF is funded by an assessment charge on all electric customers and is administered by Connecticut Innovations, Inc.

Renewable Energy Investments Advisory Committee - the group that assists Connecticut Innovations, Inc. in plan development and fund expenditure for the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

Securitization - a method of refinancing debt through a trust created by legislation for the purpose of issuing bonds backed by anticipated revenue of a utility.

State Appropriated Fuel Assistance Program - a program with qualifying income guidelines that offers assistance in the payment of heating bills to households that have an elderly (at least 60 years old) or disabled member.

Standard offer service - the provision that electric power will be supplied by the distribution companies to end use customers who do not choose a competitive electric supplier. The Standard Offer, which guarantees that customer electric rates will be at least 10% less than the rates in effect in Connecticut on December 31, 1996, will be in effect from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2003.

Stranded costs – the above-competitive market portion of the long term debt and expenses utilities have incurred through contracts with power producers, and other long term investments, such as, power plants, that were approved by PURA.

Systems Benefits Charge - the charge on each electric customer’s bill that covers certain regulatory and social policy costs, such as public education, hardship protection, low-income conservation benefits and taxes.

Unbundling - the breaking down of electric utility service into its basic component parts, generation, transmission and distribution services, so that each part can be billed or sold separately.

Wheeling - the transmission of electricity by an entity that does not own or directly use the power it is transmitting.