Energy Glossary

Cost Per Unit — Price per unit of electricity
Refers to how much you pay for a unit of energy. When talking about electricity, 1 unit = 1 kilowatt hour (kWh).

Delivery — How electricity gets inside your home and/or business
The transmission of electricity over poles and wires to a home and/or business. Your local Electric Distribution Company is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires, as well as responding to emergencies and power outages.

Demand — The average amount of electricity used over a period of time
The amount of electricity used at any given instant, or averaged over a designated period of time. Demand is usually measured in kilowatts or megawatts. The peak demand is the highest 15 or 30 minute recorded demand period over 12 months.

Deregulation — Remove government control over an industry
In the retail electricity market, deregulation refers to ending the monopoly status of local utilities and allowing Electric Generation Suppliers (EGSs) to offer service to customers. In deregulated markets the incumbent utility retains control of transmitting and distributing power, while power generation and retail service become open to competition.

Distribution System — The electricity equipment that gets power to your home
The local poles, wires, transformers, substations and other equipment used to deliver electricity to end-use consumers from high-voltage transmission lines.

Electricity Facts Label — A standardized way to show pricing
An information sheet required by the PUC that provides customers with standardized information on an EGS's prices, contracts, sources of power generation and emissions. It allows customers to compare EGS offers. EGSs must provide this disclosure to all customers at time of enrollment.

Energy Efficiency — doing things to use less electricity

Using less energy to perform the same function.

Electric Service Identifier (ESI-ID) — your electric meter's unique I.D. number
Each meter is assigned an ESI-ID that can be found on your electric bill and is required for enrollment.

Fixed Rate — A constant rate you are charged for electricity
A per unit cost that does not change for the term of the contract.

Generation — How electricity is produced
In Pennsylvania, electricity is produced by a number of methods, including natural gas, coal, nuclear power, wind, water and solar energy. The generation of electricity is deregulated.

Grid — All of the electricity lines in region
A network for the transmission of electricity throughout a region. The term is also used to refer to the layout of an electric distribution system.

Kilowatt Hour (kWh) — A unit of measurement for small amounts of electricity
The most commonly-used unit of measure to explain the amount of electricity consumed over time. It means one kilowatt of electricity supplied for one hour. The amount of electricity used each billing period is expressed in terms of a kilowatt-hour, and is noted on your bill.

Local Wires Company 
See Electric Distribution Company (EDC).

Megawatt (MW) — A large amount of electricity
A term commonly used to rate the power output of electric power plants or to define large electric customer loads. A megawatt equals one thousand kilowatts, or a million watts. A large utility power plant typically has a power rating of 500 to 1,000 megawatts. One megawatt of power could supply 500 to 1,000 average homes, depending on the time of day.

Meter Read — How we determine your electric usage
Recording the amount of electrical energy used by homes and businesses as displayed by an electricity meter. Electricity meters are typically mounted on the exterior walls of homes and businesses. Most record total kilowatt hours of energy used per month and are usually read monthly by utility employees.

Municipally or City Owned Utility — A power company owned by a city.
A non-profit electricity provider that is owned and operated by the municipality it serves. Pennsylvania city-owned utilities may decide whether or not their customers will have a choice of EGSs. Customers should contact their electric cooperative or city utility for more information.

Power — Electricity
Electricity for use as energy.

Provider of Last Resort (POLR) — A back-up EGS
The Provider of Last Resort serves as the "back-up" provider when an EGS leaves the market for any reason. If this happens, customers may switch back to the Affiliate Retail Electric Provider or choose another EGS offering electric service in the area.

Public Utility Commission (PUC) — The state regulator agency
State-run PUCs provide a regulatory environment under which electric, gas, telecommunication and water utilities operate. The PUC regulates the delivery of electricity and enforces customer protections.

Electric Generation Supplier (EGS) — An electric company
An EGS is a company licensed to provide electric service to end-use customers (residential, commercial or industrial consumers).

Slamming — Having an EGS change your provider without your knowledge
Switching electric service without a customer's approval. This practice is illegal and penalties are enforced by the PUC.

Terms of Service — Your contract with your EGS
Contract between an EGS and a customer that outlines fees, length of service and other important information.

Electric Distribution Company (EDC) — The local wire/power line company
The company that actually delivers electricity to a customer's home or business and also owns the poles and wires used in delivery. This company is still responsible for the maintenance and repair of these poles and wires and responding to emergencies and power outages. The PUC continues to regulate the local wires companies to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service.

Transmission and Distribution Charges — Fees charged by the EDC
These fees cover delivery of electricity to a customer's home or business; the maintenance and repair of poles and wires; and response for emergencies and power outages. The PUC continues to regulate the local wires companies to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service.

Transmission & Distribution — Delivery of electricity
The actual delivery of electricity over poles and wires to your home or business. These services are provided to you by your local EDC, which is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires, and responding to emergencies and power outages. The PUC still regulates transmission and distribution to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service.

Transmission Lines — Wires that carry electricity
Interconnected electric lines that move high voltage electricity from a generation facility to the distribution lines of an electric distribution company.

Variable Rate — The price you pay for electricity, changing monthly
A rate that fluctuates with the market, typically monthly.

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