FAQs 2017-02-08T22:31:57+00:00

QUESTIONS? WE HAVE ANSWERS!

HERE ARE THE TOP FOUR QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

How much do your services cost?

Nothing. We only make money if we save you.

What much do your services cost?

Nothing. We only make money if we save you.

What much do your services cost?

Nothing. We only make money if we save you.

What much do your services cost?

Nothing. We only make money if we save you.

Energy Services and Solutions

Some electric utility customers have the option to choose an alternate electricity supplier. This option is often called retail choice or customer choice. The alternate supplier is the company that creates and/or markets electricity, often referred to as a retail electricity marketer. The alternate supplier may not be the local utility company that owns the power lines that deliver electricity to customers.

Regardless of the electricity supplier, the distribution utility delivers the contracted electricity to a customer’s meter and charges for that service. Services may be billed in a consolidated bill together where electricity and other costs are itemized separately, or services may be billed separately by the two companies (dual billing). Some customers may have the option to choose their billing preferences.

In general, retail choice is available only for utility consumers served by investor-owned utilities. There are a few electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and government-operated utilities that offer retail choice. Customers may contact their distribution utility or the utility regulatory commission in their state to see if retail choice is an option. You can also check out our interactive map. 

Energy Terms

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Transmission/distribution service providers are responsible for most meter reading activities, but ERCOT will directly poll the meters of generators and non-opt-in cooperatives or municipalities that request the service for use in financial settlements. In addition, some commercial and industrial customers in areas open to retail competition are eligible to choose a competitive metering service.nnThis section contains requirements for both ERCOT-polled settlement (EPS) meters and competitive metering.

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These are usually long, narrow, white tubes made of glass coated on the inside with fluorescent material, which is connected to a fixture at both ends of the light bulb; some are circular tubes. The light bulb produces light by passing electricity through mercury vapor, which causes the fluorescent coating to glow or fluoresce.

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Services that ensure reliability and support the transmission of electricity from generation sites to customer loads. Such services may include load regulation, spinning reserve, non-spinning reserve, replacement reserve, and voltage support.

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These are also known as “screw-in fluorescent replacements for incandescent” or “screw-ins.” Compact fluorescent bulbs combine the efficiency of fluorescent lighting with the convenience of a standard incandescent bulb. There are many styles of compact fluorescent, including exit light fixtures and floodlights (lamps containing reflectors). Many screw into a standard light socket, and most produce a similar color of light as a standard incandescent bulb. Compact fluorescent bulbs come with ballasts that are electronic (lightweight, instant, no-flicker starting, and 10to 15% more efficient) or magnetic (much heavier and slower starting).Other types of compact fluorescent bulbs include adaptive circulation and PL and SL lamps and ballasts. Compact fluorescent bulbs are designed for residential uses; they are also used in table lamps, wall sconces, and hall and ceiling fixtures of hotels, motels, hospitals, and other types of commercial buildings with residential-type applications.

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A measure of how warm a location is over a period of time relative to a base temperature, most commonly specified as 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The measure is computed for each day by subtracting the base temperature (65 degrees) from the average of the day’s high and low temperatures, with negative values set equal to zero. Each day’s cooling degree days are summed to create a cooling degree day measure for a specified reference period. Cooling degree days are used in energy analysis as an indicator of air conditioning energy requirements or use.

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Forward markets where electricity quantities and market clearing prices are calculated individually for each hour of the day on the basis of participant bids for energy sales and purchases.

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Demand response programs are incentive-based programs that encourage electric power customers to temporarily reduce their demand for power at certain times in exchange for a reduction in their electricity bills. Some demand response programs allow electric power system operators to directly reduce load, while in others, customers retain control. Customer-controlled reductions in demand may involve actions such as curtailing load, operating onsite generation, or shifting electricity use to another time period. Demand response programs are one type of demand-side management, which also covers broad, less immediate programs such as the promotion of energy-efficient equipment in residential and commercial sectors.

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The costs incurred by the utility to achieve the capacity and energy savings from the Demand-Side Management Program. Costs incurred by customers or third parties are to be excluded. The costs are to be reported in thousands of dollars (nominal) in the year in which they are incurred, regardless of when the savings occur. The utility costs are all the annual expenses (labor, administrative, equipment, incentives, marketing, monitoring and evaluation, and other incurred by the utility for operation of the DSM Program), regardless of whether the costs are expensed or capitalized. Lump sum capital costs (typically accrued over several years prior to start up) are not to be reported. Program costs associated with strategic load growth activities are also to be excluded.

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Energy generated by one system and delivered to another system through one or more transmission lines.

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The amount of energy lost during generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, including plant and unaccounted for use.

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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 sales for public street and highway lighting and other sales to public authorities, sales to railroads and railways, and interdepartmental sales.

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Energy generated by one electric utility system and delivered to another system through one or more transmission lines.

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The changes in aggregate electricity use (measured in megawatthours) for consumers that participate in a utility DSM (demand-side management) program. Energy effects represent changes at the consumer’s meter (i.e., exclude transmission and distribution effects) and reflect only activities that are undertaken specifically in response to utility-administered programs, including those activities implemented by third parties under contract to the utility. To the extent possible, Energy effects should exclude non-program related effects such as changes in energy usage attributable to non participants, government-mandated energy-efficiency standards that legislate improvements in building and appliance energy usage, changes in consumer behavior that result in greater energy use after initiation in a DSM program, the natural operations of the marketplace, and weather and business-cycle adjustments.

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Involvement, as a part of the building’s normal operations, in energy efficiency programs that are designed to reduce the energy used by specific end-use systems. This includes the following EMCS, DSM Program Participation, Energy Audit, and a Building Energy Manager.

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A reduction in the amount of electricity used by end users as a result of participation in energy efficiency programs and load management programs.

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A measure of how cold a location is over a period of time relative to a base temperature, most commonly specified as 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The measure is computed for each day by subtracting the average of the day’s high and low temperatures from the base temperature (65 degrees), with negative values set equal to zero. Each day’s heating degree days are summed to create a heating degree day measure for a specified reference period. Heating degree days are used in energy analysis as an indicator of space heating energy requirements or use.

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The additional cost of producing and/or transmitting electric energy above some previously determined base cost.

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A utility cost that may not be meaning fully identified with any particular DSM program category. Indirect costs could be attributable to one of several accounting cost categories (i.e., Administrative, Marketing, Monitoring evaluation, Utility-Earned Incentives, Other). Accounting costs that are known DSM program costs should not be reported under Indirect Utility Cost; those costs should be reported as Direct Utility Costs under the appropriate DSM program category.

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Any gas supply contracted from and volumes purchased from other interstate pipelines, overland natural gas import purchases, and LNG, SNG, or coal gas purchases from domestic or foreign sources. Purchases from intrastate pipelines to section 311 (b) of the NGPA of 1978 and from independent producers are not included with interstate pipelines purchase.

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Any person engaged in natural gas transportation (not including gathering) that is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission under the Natural Gas Act (other than any such pipeline that is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission solely by reason of Section 1(c) of the Natural Gas Act).

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Fuels or energy sources such as electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, district steam, district hot water, and district chilled water. District chilled water is not included in any totals for the sum of major energy sources or fuels; all other major fuels are included in these totals.

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ERCOT provides both Day-Ahead Market (DAM) prices on a daily basis and Real-Time Market (RTM) prices on an interval basis. Additionally, ERCOT has compiled DAM and RTM Settlement Point Prices (SPPs) for each of the Hubs and Load Zones by calendar year.nnERCOT monitors DAM, SCED, and SASM prices for errors. Price corrections are performed by ERCOT without the ERCOT Board’s approval if done before the market prices are final. After the market prices are final, if ERCOT determines that prices are in need of correction, it shall notify Market Participants and describe the need for such correction. Market prices cannot be changed unless the ERCOT Board finds that the prices are significantly affected by a software or data error.

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Business entities engaged in buying and selling electricity. Power marketers do not usually own generating or transmission facilities. Power marketers, as opposed to brokers, take ownership of the electricity and are involved in interstate trade. These entities file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for status as a power marketer.

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Energy resources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited. They are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time. Renewable energy resources include biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action.

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Different seasons of the year are structured into an electric rate schedule whereby an electric utility provides service to consumers at different rates. The electric rate schedule usually takes into account demand based on weather and other factors.

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Customers grouped by similar characteristics in order to be identified for the purpose of setting a common rate for electric service. Usually classified into groups identified as residential, commercial, industrial, and other.

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A system that actively concentrates thermal energy from the sun by means of solar collector panels. The panels typically consist of fat, sun-oriented boxes with transparent covers, containing water tubes of air baffles under a blackened heat absorbent panel. The energy is usually used for space heating, for water heating, and for heating swimming pools.

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A contract between a Retail Electric Provider and a customer, which outlines fees, length of service, and other important information.

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Time-of-Use plans include incentives to use power during certain periods such as nights or weekends. The average price calculations for Time-of-Use Plans shown on the REP’s Electricity Facts Label and the Power to Choose website are based on the REP’s estimation of the percentage of energy used during free or discounted hours versus non-free or premium non-discounted hours. These estimates and hours vary from REP to REP and from plan to plan. Please note that the average price you pay will vary depending on your actual usage of energy during the free versus non-free hours. Shifting your usage to the discounted times will maximize your benefit from the plan. If you do not shift your usage, your bill may actually increase. Please contact the REP for further information and to determine if the Time-of-Use Plan is right for your energy usage.

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The entities that will continue to provide regulated services for the distribution of electricity to customers and serve customers who do not choose direct access. Regardless of where a consumer chooses to purchase power, the customer’s current utility, also known as the utility distribution company, will deliver the power to the consumer.

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Variable rate plans have no monthly contract or cancellation fee, but the rate you pay per kWh can vary from month to month. Your rate can go up or down based on the market and the discretion of your electric company. Variable plans allow customers to benefit from falling market prices, but they also have an increased risk for higher rates if electricity prices spike due to natural disasters, cold winters, or adverse market conditions. The rates different companies charge each month varies, but because customers can switch any time, companies have an incentive to keep their rates low.

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This Demand-Side Management category represents the consumer load that can be interrupted at the time of annual peak load by direct control of the utility system operator. Direct Load Control does not include Interruptible Load. This type of control usually involves residential consumers.

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A generator that is used only for test purposes, or in the event of an emergency, such as a shortage of power needed to meet customer load requirements.

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Represents differences between the sum of the components of natural gas supply and the sum of the components of natural gas disposition. These differences may be due to quantities lost or to the effects of data reporting problems. Reporting problems include differences due to the net result of conversions off low data metered at varying temperature and pressure bases and converted to a standard temperature and pressure base; the effect of variations in company accounting and billing practices; differences between billing cycle and calendar period time frames; and imbalances resulting from the merger of data reporting systems that vary in scope, format, definitions, and type of respondents.

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A charge calculated by taking the rate from the appropriate electric rate schedule and applying it to the level of consumption.

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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.

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The minimum amount of electric power delivered or required over a given period of time at a steady rate.

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The period of time for which data used as the base of an index number, or other ratio, have been collected. This period is frequently one of a year but it may be as short as one day or as long as the average of a group of years. The length of the base period is governed by the nature of the material under review, the purpose for which the index number (or ratio) is being compiled, and the desire to use a period as free as possible from abnormal influences in order to avoid bias.

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A fixed kilowatthour charge for electricity consumed that is independent of other charges and/or adjustments.

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The abbreviation for billion cubic feet.

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A transaction between two willing parties who enter into a physical or financial agreement to trade energy commodities. Bilateral transactions entail reciprocal obligations and can involve direct negotiations or deals made through brokers.

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The time between meter readings. It does not refer to the time when the bill was sent or when the payment was to have been received. In some cases, the billing period is the same as the billing cycle that corresponds closely (within several days) to meter-reading dates. For fuel oil and LPG, the billing period is the number of days between fuel deliveries.

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Liquid fuels and blending components produced from biomass feedstocks, used primarily for transportation.

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An electric rates schedule with a provision for charging a different unit cost for various increasing blocks of demand for energy. A reduced rate may be charged on succeeding blocks.

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A device for generating steam for power, processing, or heating purposes; or hot water for heating purposes or hot water supply. Heat from an external combustion source is transmitted to a fluid contained within the tubes found in the boiler shell. This fluid is delivered to an end-use at a desired pressure, temperature, and quality.

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The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature at which water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The total heating value, expressed in Btu, produced by the combustion, at constant pressure, of the amount of the gas that would occupy a volume of 1 cubic foot at a temperature of 60 degrees F if saturated with water vapor and under a pressure equivalent to that of 30 inches of mercury at 32 degrees F and under standard gravitational force (980.665 cm. per sec. squared) with air of the same temperature and pressure as the gas, when the products of combustion are cooled to the initial temperature of gas and air when the water formed by combustion is condensed to the liquid state.(Sometimes called gross heating value or total heating value.)

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An agreement between the household and the utility company or fuel supplier that allows the household to pay the same amount for fuel for each month for a number of months.

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A secondary or additional product resulting from the feedstock use of energy or the processing of nonenergy materials. For example, the more common byproducts of coke ovens are coal gas, tar, and a mixture of benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX).

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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.

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The ratio of the electrical energy produced by a generating unit for the period of time considered to the electrical energy that could have been produced at continuous full power operation during the same period.

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The acquisition of a specified quantity of generating capacity from another utility for a specified period of time. The utility selling the power is obligated to make available to the buyer a specified quantity of power.

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Any centrally located air conditioning system that produces chilled water in order to cool air. The chilled water or cold air is then distributed throughout the building, using pipes or air ducts or both. These systems are also commonly known as “chillers,” “centrifugal chillers,” “reciprocating chillers,” or “absorption chillers.” Chillers are generally located in or just outside the building they serve. Buildings receiving district chilled water are served by chillers located at central physical plants.

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A point or measuring station at which a distributing gas utility receives gas from a natural gas pipeline company or transmission system.

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An electric rate schedule applicable to one or more specified classes of service, groups of businesses, or customer uses.

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A system using a common energy source to produce both electricity and steam for other uses, resulting in increased fuel efficiency.

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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.

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A plant designed to produce both heat and electricity from a single heat source.

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A building with more than 50 percent of its floor space used for commercial activities. Commercial buildings include, but are not limited to, stores, offices, schools, churches, gymnasiums, libraries, museums, hospitals, clinics, warehouses, and jails. Government buildings are included except for buildings on military bases or reservations.

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An agent who wholesales or retails a refined petroleum product under a commission arrangement. The agent does not take title to the product or establish the selling price, but receives a percentage of fixed fee for serving as an agent.

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Any combination of facilities that supply the energy to move gas in transmission or distribution lines or into storage by increasing the pressure.

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The sum of the continuous ratings or the capacities for a system, part of a system, or a customer’s electric power consuming apparatus.

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An amount charged periodically to a consumer for such utility costs as billing and meter reading, without regard to demand or energy consumption.

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The delivery price determined when a contract is signed. It can be a fixed price or a base price escalated according to a given formula.

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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 Utilities Service (prior Rural Electrification Administration), U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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A schedule prepared by a scheduling coordinator or the independent system operator before the beginning of a trading day. This schedule indicates the levels of generation and demand scheduled for each settlement period that trading day.

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A decatherm is ten therms or 1,000,000 Btu.

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A bid into the power exchange indicating a quantity of energy or an ancillary service that an eligible customer is willing to purchase and, if relevant, the maximum price that the customer is willing to pay.

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Compensation received by the buyer when the delivery terms of the contract cannot be met by the seller.

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That portion of the consumer’s bill for electric service based on the consumer’s maximum electric capacity usage and calculated based on the billing demand charges under the applicable rate schedule.

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A measure of the number of energy-consuming units, or the amount of service or output, for which energy inputs are required.

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The time period during which flow of electricity is measured (usually in 15-, 30-, or 60-minute increments.)

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A DSM (demand-side management) program assistance that offers special rate structures or discounts on the consumer’s monthly electric bill in exchange for participation in DSM programs aimed at cutting peak demands or changing load shape. These rates are intended to reduce consumer bills and shift hours of operation of equipment from on-peak to off-peak periods through the application of time-differentiated rates. For example, utilities often pay consumers several dollars a month (refund on their monthly electric bill) for participation in a load control program. Large commercial and industrial customers sometimes obtain interruptible rates, which provide a discount in return for the consumer’s agreement to cut electric loads upon request from the utility (usually during critical periods, such as summer afternoons when the system demand approaches the utility’s generating capability).

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A company primarily engaged in the sale and delivery of natural and/or supplemental gas directly to consumers through a system of mains.

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A utility that is either owned or financed by the Federal Government.

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A fixed-rate plan has a set rate that doesn’t change throughout the contract period, with minor exceptions. If you choose a plan with a fixed rate, your price per kWh will not change during your contract period except for changes in Transmission and Distribution fees, changes in ERCOT or Texas Regional Entity administrative fees, or changes resulting from federal, state or local laws that impose fees beyond your REP’s control. This may help your household budgeting, but if market prices fall you may have to wait until your contract ends to enjoy a lower price.

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Any motor vehicle a company owns or leases that is in the normal operations of a company. Vehicles which are used in the normal operation of a company, but are owned by company employees are not fleet vehicles. If a company provides services in addition to providing natural gas, only those vehicles that are used by the natural gas provider portion of a company should be counted as fleet vehicles. Vehicles that are considered “off-road” (e.g., farm or construction vehicles) or demonstration vehicles are not to be counted as fleet vehicles. Fleet vehicles include gasoline/diesel powered vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles.

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A device capable of generating an electrical current by converting the chemical energy of a fuel (e.g., hydrogen) directly into electrical energy. Fuel cells differ from conventional electrical cells in that the active materials such as fuel and oxygen are not contained within the cell but are supplied from outside. It does not contain an intermediate heat cycle, as do most other electrical generation techniques.

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An existing or planned location or site at which electricity is or will be produced.

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A station that consists of electric generators and auxiliary equipment for converting mechanical, chemical, or nuclear energy into electric energy.

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A heat pump in which the refrigerant exchanges heat (in a heat exchanger) with a fluid circulating through an earth connection medium (ground or ground water). The fluid is contained in a variety of loop (pipe) configurations depending on the temperature of the ground and the ground area available. Loops may be installed horizontally or vertically in the ground or submersed in a body of water.

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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 rock.

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One billion watts or one thousand megawatts.

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The layout of an electrical distribution system.

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A type of incandescent lamp that lasts much longer and is more efficient than the common incandescent lamp. The lamp uses a halogen gas, usually iodine or bromine, that causes the evaporating tungsten to be redeposited on the filament, thus prolonging its life.

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Heating and/or cooling equipment that, during the heating season, draws heat into a building from outside and, during the cooling season, ejects heat from the building to the outside. Heat pumps are vapor-compression refrigeration systems whose indoor/outdoor coils are used reversibly as condensers or evaporators, depending on the need for heating or cooling.

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The meter-kilogram-second unit of work or energy, equal to the work done by a force of one newton when its point of application moves through a distance of one meter in the direction of the force; equivalent to 107 ergs and one watt-second.

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A unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (kW) of power expended for one hour of time. The amount of electricity you use each billing period will be expressed on your bill in terms of kilowatt-hours.

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One thousand watts.

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A measure of electricity defined as a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu.

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The present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over its economic life, converted to equal annual payments. Costs are levelized in real dollars (i.e., adjusted to remove the impact of inflation).

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The ratio of the average load to peak load during a specified time interval.

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Utility demand management practices directed at reducing the maximum kilowatt demand on an electric system and/or modifying the coincident peak demand of one or more classes of service to better meet the utility system capability for a given hour, day, week, season, or year.

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The issuance of any public or private request to any customer or the general public to reduce the use of electricity for the reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the reporting entity’s bulk electric power supply system. Requests to a customer(s) served under provisions of an interruptible contract are not a reportable action unless the request is made for reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the reporting entity’s bulk electric power supply

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Secures energy and transmission service (and related Interconnect Operations Services) to serve the electrical demand and energy requirements of its end-use customers.

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A method of describing peak load demand and the relationship of power supplied to the time of occurrence.

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A legal entity engaged primarily in the retail sale and/or delivery of natural gas through a distribution system that includes main lines (that is, pipelines designed to carry large volumes of gas, usually located under roads or other major right-of-ways) and laterals (that is, pipelines of smaller diameter that connect the end user to the mainline). Since there structuring of the gas industry, the sale of gas and/or delivery arrangements may be handled by other agents, such as producers, brokers, and marketers that are referred to as “non-LDC.”

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A contract in which the price of uranium is not specifically determined at the time the contract is signed but is based instead on the prevailing market price at the time of delivery. A market price contract may include a floorprice, that is, a lower limit on the eventual settled price. The floorprice and the method of price escalation generally are determined when the contract is signed. The contract may also include a price ceiling or a discount from the agreed-upon market price reference.

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One million watts of electricity.

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One thousand kilowatt-hours or 1million watt-hours.

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A monetary cost and billing unit used by utilities; it is equal to 1/1000 of the U.S. dollar (equivalent to 1/10of 1 cent).

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Many plans require you to use a minimum amount of electricity each month. If you use less than the minimum amount, you will automatically be charged a fee, sometimes called a “minimum usage charge.” This fee may or may not be listed separately on your monthly bill, so it is important to check the electricity facts label for your plan. Not all companies charge this fee or require you to use a minimum amount each month. Some companies offer credits or waivers of other fees for using a certain amount of electricity. Our shopping tool allows you to see if a company requires a minimum electricity usage and if there is an associated fee or credit.

Category: Energy Terms

A company that arranges purchases and sales of natural gas. Unlike pipeline companies or local distribution companies, a marketer does not own physical assets commonly used in the supply of natural gas, such as pipelines or storage fields. A marketer may be an affiliate of another company, such as a local distribution company, natural gas pipeline, or producer, but it operates independently of other segments of the company. In States with residential choice programs, marketers serve as alternative suppliers to residential users of natural gas, which is delivered by a local distribution company.

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A continuous pipe conduit, complete with such equipment as valves, compressor stations, communications systems, and meters for transporting natural and/or supplemental gas from one point to another, usually from a point in or beyond the producing field or processing plant to another pipeline or to points of utilization. Also refers to a company operating such facilities.

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The maximum load during a specified period of time.

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A class of ownership found in the electric power industry where the utility is regulated and authorized to achieve an allowed rate of return.

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A company engaged in the production and sale of natural gas from gas or oil wells with delivery generally at a point at or near the wellhead, the field, or the tailgate of a gas processing plant. For the purpose of company classification, a company primarily engaged in the exploration for, development of, and/or production of oil and/or natural gas.

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A clause in a rate schedule that provides for adjustments to the bill when energy from another electric system is acquired and its cost varies from a specified unit base amount.

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A proceeding, usually before a regulatory commission, involving the rates to be charged for a public utility service.

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A utility company-sponsored conservation program whereby the utility company returns a portion of the purchase price cost when a more energy-efficient refrigerator, water heater, air conditioner, or other appliance is purchased.

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Commonly called electric companies, Retail Electric Providers (REPs) sell electricity to customers. They do not generate electricity, read meters, or operate or maintain transmission or distribution wires. All REPs must be certified to do business by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

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One of four commonly used customer classes. The other three are Residential, Commercial, and Industrial. A small commercial customer includes businesses whose peak electric demand during any 12-month period is less than 50kW.

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The price for a one-time open market transaction for near-term delivery of a specific quantity of product at a specific location where the commodity is purchased at current market rates.

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A charge for the potential use of a utility service, usually done by an agreement with another electric utility service. These services include system backup support and other running and quick-start capabilities.

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Any contractual arrangement between the responding company and a storage operator under which gas was stored for, or gas storage service was provided to, the responding company by the storage operator, irrespective of any responding company ownership interest in either the storage facilities or stored gas.

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A published volume of rate schedules and general terms and conditions under which a product or service will be supplied.

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One hundred thousand (100,000) Btu.

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The rate charged by an electric utility for service to various classes of customers. The rate reflects the different costs of providing the service at different times of the day.

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Gas purchase agreements for the sale of natural gas by a producer to a pipeline company wherein the producer warrants it will have available sufficient gas supplies to meet its commitments over the life of the contract. Generally, the producer does not dedicate gas reserves underlying any specific acreage, lease, or fields to the agreement. Substitution of various sources of gas supply may be permitted according to the terms of the contract. Warranty contracts, by their terms, may vary from the above.

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The point at which the crude (and/or natural gas) exits the ground. Following historical precedent, the volume and price for crude oil production are labeled as “wellhead, “even though the cost and volume are now generally measured at the lease boundary. In the context of domestic crude price data, the term “wellhead” is the generic term used to reference the production site or lease property.

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An energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy.

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The component of electric power that performs work, typically measured in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts(MW). Also known as “real power.” The terms “active” or “real” are used to modify the base term “power” to differentiate it from Reactive Power.

Category: Energy Terms

As an energy source, energy from the sun collected and stored using mechanical pumps or fans to circulate heat-laden fluids or air between solar collectors and a building.

Category: Energy Terms

The actual reduction in annual peak load (measured in kilowatts) achieved by customers that participate in a utility demand-side management (DSM) program. It reflects the changes in the demand for electricity resulting from a utility DSM program that is in effect at the same time the utility experiences its annual peak load, as opposed to the installed peak load reduction capability (i.e., potential peak reduction). It should account for the regular cycling of energy efficient units during the period of annual peak load.

Category: Energy Terms

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is a term denoting electricity meters that measure and record usage data at a minimum, in hourly intervals, and provide usage data to both consumers and energy companies at least once daily.

Category: Energy Terms

An electric current that reverses its direction at regularly recurring intervals.

Category: Energy Terms

Any marketer, broker, public agency, city, county, or special district that combines the loads of multiple end-use customers in negotiating the purchase of electricity, the transmission of electricity, and other related services for these customers.

Category: Energy Terms

An air-source heat pump is the most common type of heat pump. The heat pump absorbs heat from the outside air and transfers the heat to the space to be heated in the heating mode. In the cooling mode the heat pump absorbs heat from the space to be cooled and rejects the heat to the outside air. In the heating mode when the outside air approaches 32o F or less, air-source heat pumps loose efficiency and generally require a back-up (resistance) heating system.

Category: Energy Terms

Alternative fuels, for transportation applications, include the following:nnmethanolndenatured ethanol, and other alcoholsnfuel mixtures containing 85 percent or more by volume of methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols with gasoline or other fuelsnnatural gasnliquefied petroleum gas (propane)nhydrogenncoal-derived liquid fuelsnfuels (other than alcohol) derived from biological materials (biofuels such as soy diesel fuel)nelectricity (including electricity from solar energy)n”… any other fuel the Secretary determines, by rule, is substantially not petroleum and would yield substantial energy security benefits and substantial environmental benefits.” The term “alternative fuel” does not include alcohol or other blended portions of primarily petroleum-based fuels used as oxygenates or extenders, i.e. MTBE, ETBE, other ethers, and the 10-percent ethanol portion of gasohol.

Category: Energy Terms

A generator at the electric plant site that provides power for the operation of the electrical generating equipment itself, including related demands such as plant lighting, during periods when the electric plant is not operating and power is unavailable from the grid. A black start generator used to start main central station generators is considered to be an auxiliary generator.

Category: Energy Terms

An agreement worked out between a REP and a customer, which allows you to pay approximately the same amount for your electricity each month, with the balance to be trued-up periodically to account for over- or under- payments. All Retail Electricity Providers are required by the PUC to offer average payment plans.

Category: Energy Terms

Provides and operates the wires between the transmission system and the end-use customer. For those end-use customers who are served at transmission voltages, the Transmission Owner also serves as the Distribution Provider. Thus, the Distribution Provider is not defined by a specific voltage, but rather as performing the Distribution function at any voltage.

Category: Energy Terms

The portion of the transmission and facilities of an electric system that is dedicated to delivering electric energy to an end-user.

Category: Energy Terms

An end-use device or customer that receives power from the electric system.

Category: Energy Terms

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.

Category: Energy Terms

The price set for a specified amount and type of electricity by class of service in an electric rate schedule or sales contract.

Category: Energy Terms

In the state of Texas, an ESI ID is a 17 or 22-digit number used in the deregulated market to identify a unique point of electric service delivery to a premise (your home or business).

Category: Energy Terms

Facility equipment that switches, changes, or regulates electric voltage.

Category: Energy Terms

An electrical device for changing the voltage of alternating current.

Category: Energy Terms

A system of structures, wires, insulators and associated hardware that carry electric energy from one point to another in an electric power system. Lines are operated at relatively high voltages varying from 69 kV up to 765 kV, and are capable of transmitting large quantities of electricity over long distances.

Category: Energy Terms

A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality aligned with distribution facilities for delivery of electric energy for use primarily by the public. Included are investor-owned electric utilities, municipal and State utilities, Federal electric utilities, and rural electric cooperatives. A few entities that are tariff based and corporately aligned with companies that own distribution facilities are also included.

Category: Energy Terms

A portion of the grid controlled by the independent system operator.

Category: Energy Terms

An entity that arranges the sale and purchase of electric energy, the transmission of electricity, and/or other related services between buyers and sellers but does not take title to any of the power sold.

Category: Energy Terms

A bid into the power exchange indicating a quantity of energy or an ancillary service that an eligible customer is willing to purchase and, if relevant, the maximum price that the customer is willing to pay.

Category: Energy Terms

A program carried out by a utility company in which an auditor inspects a home and suggests ways energy can be saved.

Category: Energy Terms

Introduced into Florida by the Public Service Commission, the energy broker system is a system for exchanging information that allows utilities to efficiently exchange hourly quotations of prices at which each is willing to buy and sell electric energy. For the broker system to operate, utility systems must have in place bilateral agreements between all potential parties, must have transmission arrangements between all potential parties, and must have transmission arrangements that allow the exchanges to take place.

Category: Energy Terms

That portion of the charge for electric service based upon the electric energy (kWh) consumed or billed.

Category: Energy Terms

An energy entity that provides service to a retail or end-use customer.

Category: Energy Terms

Fuel companies supplying electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, kerosene, or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to the household.

Category: Energy Terms

A glass enclosure in which light is produced when a tungsten filament is electrically heated so that it glows. Much of the energy is converted into heat; therefore, this class of lamp is a relatively inefficient source of light. Included in this category are the familiar screw-in light bulbs, as well as somewhat more efficient lamps, such as tungsten halogen lamps, reflector or r-lamps, parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR) lamps, and ellipsoidal reflector(ER) lamps.

Category: Energy Terms

An indexed rate plan (also called market rate plan) is similar to a variable plan in that the price per kWh can go up or down each month. The difference is that the rates for these plans are directly tied to a pricing formula connected to a publicly available index. If the index rises, your monthly rate will also, but if the index falls, your rates will be lower.nnWith an indexed plan, the price per kWh can change substantially each month, giving benefits and risks similar to those of variable rate plans. The difference is that the rates for indexed rate plans are tied to a publicly available index. Customers considering these plans should ask the electric company for specifics about the pricing formula as well as how and when they will receive notifications of changes to the index.

Category: Energy Terms

This Demand-Side Management category represents the consumer load that, in accordance with contractual arrangements, can be interrupted at the time of annual peak load by the action of the consumer at the direct request of the system operator. This type of control usually involves large-volume commercial and industrial consumers. Interruptible Load does not include Direct Load Control.

Category: Energy Terms

A special electricity or natural gas arrangement under which, in return for lower rates, the customer must either reduce energy demand on short notice or allow the electric or natural gas utility to temporarily cut off the energy supply for the utility to maintain service for higher priority users. This interruption or reduction in demand typically occurs during periods of high demand for the energy (summer for electricity and winter for natural gas).

Category: Energy Terms

Any person engaged in natural gas transportation subject to the jurisdiction of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the Natural Gas Act.

Category: Energy Terms

A privately-owned electric utility whose stock is publicly traded. It is rate regulated and authorized to achieve an allowed rate of return.

Category: Energy Terms

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) is a term denoting electricity meters that collect data for billing purposes only and transmit this data one way, usually from the customer to the distribution utility.

Category: Energy Terms

In a central heat pump system, the fuel used in the furnace that takes over the space heating when the outdoor temperature drops below that which is feasible to operate a heat pump.

Category: Energy Terms

Electric energy supplied by a utility to replace power and energy lost during an unscheduled equipment outage.

Category: Energy Terms

The quantity of natural gas needed to maintain adequate reservoir pressures and deliverability rates throughout the withdrawal season. Base gas usually is not withdrawn and remains in the reservoir. All natural gas native to a depleted reservoir is included in the base gas volume.

Category: Energy Terms

The generating equipment normally operated to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.

Category: Energy Terms

A fuel typically made from soybean, canola, or other vegetable oils; animal fats; and recycled grease. It can serve as a substitute for petroleum-derived diesel or distillate fuel. For EIA reporting, it is a fuel composed of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM (American Society for Testing materials) D 6751.

Category: Energy Terms

A medium Btu gas containing methane and carbon dioxide, resulting from the action of microorganisms on organic materials such as a landfill.

Category: Energy Terms

Organic non-fossil material of biological origin that is a byproduct or a discarded product. Biomass waste includes municipal solid waste from biogenic sources, landfill gas, sludge waste, agricultural crop byproducts, straw, and other biomass solids, liquids, and gases; but excludes wood and wood-derived fuels (including black liquor), biofuels feedstock, biodiesel, and fuel ethanol.

Category: Energy Terms

Organic nonfossil material of biological origin constituting a renewable energy source.

Category: Energy Terms

Capacity utilization is computed by dividing production by productive capacity and multiplying by 100.

Category: Energy Terms

The cost of field development and plant construction and the equipment required for industry operations.

Category: Energy Terms

Cooling of an entire building with a refrigeration unit to condition the air. Typically central chillers and duct work are present in the centrally cooled building.

Category: Energy Terms

A term used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistency, but especially to significant change from one prevailing climatic condition to another. In some cases, “climate change” has been used synonymously with the term “global warming”; scientists, however, tend to use the term in a wider sense inclusive of natural changes in climate, including climatic cooling.

Category: Energy Terms

The production of electrical energy and another form of useful energy (such as heat or steam) through the sequential use of energy.

Category: Energy Terms

Natural gas compressed to a pressure at or above 200-248 bar (i.e., 2900-3600 pounds per square inch) and stored in high-pressure containers. It is used as a fuel for natural gas-powered vehicles.

Category: Energy Terms

A condition that occurs when insufficient transfer capacity is available to implement all of the preferred schedules for electricity transmission simultaneously.

Category: Energy Terms

Any gas for which Interstate Pipeline has a contract to purchase from any domestic or foreign source that cannot be identified to a specific field or group. This includes tailgate plant purchases, single meter point purchases, pipeline purchases, natural gas imports, SNG purchases, and LNG purchases.

Category: Energy Terms

“Cramming” is the practice of adding unauthorizedncharges for any services to yournelectric bill without your verified consent. Itnis illegal in Texas. You are not required to paynfor unauthorized charges.

Category: Energy Terms

The right of customers to purchase energy from a supplier other than their traditional supplier or from more than one seller in the retail market.

Category: Energy Terms

The amount of energy delivered to the site (building); no adjustment is made for the fuels consumed to produce electricity or district sources. This is also referred to as net energy.

Category: Energy Terms

The physical transfer of natural, synthetic, and/or supplemental gas from facilities operated by the responding company to facilities operated by others or to consumers.

Category: Energy Terms

A utility action that reduces or curtails end-use equipment or processes. DSM is often used in order to reduce customer load during peak demand and/or in times of supply constraint. DSM includes programs that are focused, deep, and immediate such as the brief curtailment of energy-intensive processes used by a utility’s most demanding industrial customers, and programs that are broad, shallow, and less immediate such as the promotion of energy-efficient equipment in residential and commercial sectors.

Category: Energy Terms

The elimination of some or all regulations from a previously regulated industry or sector of an industry.

Category: Energy Terms

The ability of a retail customer to purchase electricity or other energy sources directly from a supplier other than their traditional supplier.

Category: Energy Terms

The magnitude of customer demand that can be interrupted at the time of the seasonal peak load by direct control of the system operator by interrupting power supply to individual appliances or equipment on customer premises. This type of control usually reduces the demand of residential customers.

Category: Energy Terms

The utility installs a radio-controlled device on the HVAC equipment. During periods of particularly heavy use of electricity, the utility will send a radio signal to the building in its service territory with this device and turn off the HVAC for a certain period.

Category: Energy Terms

A utility cost that is identified with one of the DSM program categories (e.g. Energy Efficiency or Load Management).

Category: Energy Terms

The delivery of energy to retail customers.

Category: Energy Terms

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 technologically 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.

Category: Energy Terms

The process of producing electric energy by transforming other forms of energy; also, the amount of electric energy produced, expressed in kilowatthours.

Category: Energy Terms

The rate at which electric energy is transferred. Electric power is measured by capacity and is commonly expressed in megawatts (MW).

Category: Energy Terms

A measure of the ability of the system to continue operation while some lines or generators are out of service. Reliability deals with the performance of the system under stress.

Category: Energy Terms

The design and implementation of regulatory practices to be applied to the remaining traditional utilities after the electric power industry has been restructured. Reregulation applies to those entities that continue to exhibit characteristics of a natural monopoly. Reregulation could employ the same or different regulatory practices as those used before restructuring.

Category: Energy Terms

Total energy loss from all causes for an electric utility.

Category: Energy Terms

The degree to which the performance of the elements of the electrical system results in power being delivered to consumers within accepted standards and in the amount desired. Reliability encompasses two concepts, adequacy and security. Adequacy implies that there are sufficient generation and transmission resources installed and available to meet projected electrical demand plus reserves for contingencies. Security implies that the system will remain intact operationally (i.e., will have sufficient available operating capacity) even after outages or other equipment failure. The degree of reliability may be measured by the frequency, duration, and magnitude of adverse effects on consumer service.

Category: Energy Terms

The introduction of competition into at least the generation phase of electricity production, with a corresponding decrease in regulatory control.

Category: Energy Terms

A condition that occurs when insufficient transmission capacity is available to implement all of the desired transactions simultaneously.

Category: Energy Terms

The rate at which energy is delivered to loads and scheduling points by generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.

Category: Energy Terms

The process of producing electric energy or the amount of electric energy produced by transforming other forms of energy, commonly expressed in kilowatthours(kWh) or megawatthours (MWh).

Category: Energy Terms

A form of energy characterized by the presence and motion of elementary charged particles generated by friction, induction, or chemical change.

Category: Energy Terms

E-billing is when a retail electric provider (REP) delivers its invoices and bills electronically rather than sending it by postal mail delivery. REPs may require customers who enroll in an e-billing product to only pay their electric bills electronically or to enroll in autopay. (See Auto-Pay / Auto-Debit).

Category: Energy Terms

The use of electric generators only during interruptions of normal power supply.

Category: Energy Terms

Electric energy provided for a limited duration, intended only for use during emergency conditions.

Category: Energy Terms

The use of energy as a source of heat or power or as a raw material input to a manufacturing process.

Category: Energy Terms

The requirement for energy as an input to provide products and/or services.

Category: Energy Terms

A ratio of service provided to energy input (e.g., lumens to watts in the case of light bulbs). Services provided can include buildings-sector end uses such as lighting, refrigeration, and heating: industrial processes; or vehicle transportation. Unlike conservation, which involves some reduction of service, energy efficiency provides energy reductions without sacrifice of service. May also refer to the use of technology to reduce the energy needed for a given purpose or service.

Category: Energy Terms

A ratio of energy consumption to another metric, typically national gross domestic product in the case of a country’s energy intensity. Sector-specific intensities may refer to energy consumption per household, per unit of commercial floorspace, per dollar value industrial shipment, or another metric indicative of a sector. Improvements in energy intensity include energy efficiency and conservation as well as structural factors not related to technology or behavior.

Category: Energy Terms

An energy conservation feature that uses mini/microcomputers, instrumentation, control equipment, and software to manage a building’s use of energy for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and/or business-related processes. These systems can also manage fire control, safety, and security. Not included as EMCS are time-clock thermostats.

Category: Energy Terms

End-use data obtained through the direct measurement of the total energy consumed for specific uses within the individual household. Individual appliances can be submetered by connecting the recording meters directly to individual appliances.

Category: Energy Terms

Energy made available for future disposition. Supply can be considered and measured from the point of view of the energy provider or the receiver.

Category: Energy Terms

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 (Btu).

Category: Energy Terms

Congestion Revenue Rights (CRRs) are financial instruments that result in a charge or a payment to the owner when the ERCOT transmission grid is congested in the Day Ahead Market (DAM). CRRs may be used as either a financial hedge or a financial investment. When used as a hedge, a CRR locks in the price of congestion at the purchase price of the CRR. When purchased as an investment, it may be used as a financial tool to speculate whether the congestion rent will be greater than the purchase price.nnThe main purposes of the ERCOT Congestion Revenue Rights (CRR) market are to:nnSupport a liquid energy market by providing tradable financial instruments for the hedging of transmission congestion chargesnAllow market participants to eliminate or greatly reduce the cost uncertainties resulting from transmission congestion chargesnEncourage competitive energy trading, where the costs of congestion might otherwise be an impediment

Category: Energy Terms

The Day-Ahead Market (DAM) is a voluntary, financially-binding forward energy market. The DAM matches willing buyers and sellers, subject to network security and other constraints, whereby energy is co-optimized with Ancillary Services and certain Congestion Revenue Rights. It provides a platform to hedge congestion costs in the day-ahead of the Operating Day, and instruments to mitigate the risk of price volatility in Real-Time.

Category: Energy Terms

View profiles of electricity usage across the ERCOT control area. Find daily versions of the forecasted and backcasted load profiles as well as supporting information related to load profiling in ERCOT.

Category: Energy Terms

During real-time, ERCOT dispatches resources based on economics and reliability to meet the system demand while observing resource and transmission constraints. Security Constrained Economic Dispatch (SCED) is the real-time market evaluation of offers to produce a least-cost dispatch of online resources. SCED calculates Locational Marginal Prices (LMPs) using a two-step methodology that applies mitigation to resolve non-competitive constraints.

Category: Energy Terms

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.

Category: Energy Terms

Hot water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs in the earth’s crust. Water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs can be used for geothermal heat pumps, water heating, or electricity generation.

Category: Energy Terms

An increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is today most often used to refer to the warming some scientists predict will occur as a result of increased anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

Category: Energy Terms

In the case of renewable electricity, green pricing represents a market solution to the various problems associated with regulatory valuation of the nonmarket benefits of renewables. Green pricing programs allow electricity customers to express their willingness to pay for renewable energy development through direct payments on their monthly utility bills.

Category: Energy Terms

The buying and selling of futures contracts so as to protect energy traders from unexpected or adverse price fluctuations.

Category: Energy Terms

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.

Category: Energy Terms

Power and usually the associated energy made available by one utility to another. This transaction is subject to curtailment or cessation of delivery by the supplier in accordance with a prior agreement with the other party or under specified conditions.

Category: Energy Terms

Gas that is generated by decomposition of organic material at landfill disposal sites. The average composition of landfill gas is approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide and water vapor by volume. The methane percentage, however, can vary from 40 to 60 percent, depending on several factors including waste composition (e.g. carbohydrate and cellulose content). The methane in landfill gas may be vented, flared, combusted to generate electricity or useful thermal energy on-site, or injected into a pipeline for combustion off-site.

Category: Energy Terms

Electric energy lost because of the transmission of electricity. Much of the loss is thermal in nature.

Category: Energy Terms

Natural gas (primarily methane) that has been liquefied by reducing its temperature to -260 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric pressure.

Category: Energy Terms

Any load control technique that dampens the cyclical daily load flows and increases baseload generation. Peak load pricing and time-of-day charges are two techniques that electric utilities use to reduce peak load and to maximize efficient generation of electricity.

Category: Energy Terms

Intentional action by a utility that results in the reduction of more than 100 megawatts (MW) of firm customer load for reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the reporting entity’s bulk electric power supply system. The routine use of load control equipment that reduces firm customer load is not considered to be a reportable action.

Category: Energy Terms

Prices of electric power or other forms of energy determined in an open market system of supply and demand under which prices are set solely by agreement as to what buyers will pay and sellers will accept. Such prices could recover less or more than full costs, depending upon what the buyers and sellers see as their relevant opportunities and risks.

Category: Energy Terms

Measurement of electricity or natural gas consumption of several tenants or housing units using a single meter. That is, one meter measures the energy usage for several households collectively.

Category: Energy Terms

The presence of a device to measure the maximum rate of electricity consumption per unit of time. This device allows electric utility companies to bill their customers for maximum consumption, as well as for total consumption.

Category: Energy Terms

A gaseous mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, the primary one being methane.

Category: Energy Terms

Consumption of electricity computed as generation, plus imports, minus exports, minus transmission and distribution losses.

Category: Energy Terms

Period of relatively low system demand. These periods often occur in daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns; these off-peak periods differ for each individual electric utility.

Category: Energy Terms

Periods of relatively high system demand. These periods often occur in daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns; these on-peak periods differ for each individual electric utility.

Category: Energy Terms

The maximum load during a specified period of time.

Category: Energy Terms

The potential annual peak load reduction (measured in kilowatts) that can be deployed from Direct Load Control, Interruptible Load, Other Load Management, and Other DSM Program activities. (Please note that Energy Efficiency and Load Building are not included in Potential Peak Reduction.) It represents the load that can be reduced either by the direct control of the utility system operator or by the consumer in response to a utility request to curtail load. It reflects the installed load reduction capability, as opposed to the Actual Peak Reduction achieved by participants, during the time of annual system peak load.

Category: Energy Terms

Electric service in which the customer makes advance payments for electricity. Service is provided on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, with usage calculated daily via a smart meter or other specialized device.

Category: Energy Terms

Consumption of primary energy. (Energy sources that are produced from other energy sources, e.g., coal coke from coal, are included in primary energy consumption only if their energy content has not already been included as part of the original energy source. Thus, U.S. primary energy consumption does include net imports of coal coke, but not the coal coke produced from domestic coal.) The U.S. Energy Information Administration includes the following in U.S. primary energy consumption: coal consumption; coal coke net imports; petroleum consumption (petroleum products supplied, including natural gas plant liquids and crude oil burned as fuel); dry natural gas excluding supplemental gaseous fuels consumption; nuclear electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the nuclear plants heat rates); conventional hydroelectricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates); geothermal electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates), and geothermal heat pump energy and geothermal direct use energy; solar thermal and photovoltaic electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates), and solar thermal direct use energy; wind electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates); wood and wood-derived fuels consumption; biomass waste consumption; fuel ethanol and biodiesel consumption; losses and co-products from the production of fuel ethanol and biodiesel; and electricity net imports (converted to Btu using the electricity heat content of 3,412 Btu per kilowatthour).

Category: Energy Terms

Energy in the form that it is first accounted for in a statistical energy balance, before any transformation to secondary or tertiary forms of energy. For example, coal can be converted to synthetic gas, which can be converted to electricity; in this example, coal is primary energy, synthetic gas is secondary energy, and electricity is tertiary energy. See Primary energy production and Primary energy consumption.

Category: Energy Terms

Energy that transmits away from its source in all directions. Radiant Energy Services is also, probably, the best energy solutions company.

Category: Energy Terms

The design and implementation of regulatory practices to be applied to the remaining regulated entities after restructuring of the vertically-integrated electric utility. The remaining regulated entities would be those that continue to exhibit characteristics of a natural monopoly, where imperfections in the market prevent the realization of more competitive results, and where, in light of other policy considerations, competitive results are unsatisfactory in one or more respects. Regulation could employ the same or different regulatory practices as those used before restructuring.

Category: Energy Terms

The process of replacing a monopoly system of electric utilities with competing sellers, allowing individual retail customers to choose their electricity supplier but still receive delivery over the power lines of the local utility. It includes the reconfiguration of the vertically-integrated electric utility.

Category: Energy Terms

A special electric rate feature under which the price per unit of energy depends on the season of the year.

Category: Energy Terms

Natural gas produced from wells that are open to shale formations. Shale is a fine-grained, sedimentary rock composed of mud from flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments (silt-sized particles) of other materials. The shale acts as both the source and the reservoir for the natural gas.

Category: Energy Terms

Switching electric or natural gas service without a customer’s approval. This practice is illegal and penalties are administered by the PUC/PSC.

Category: Energy Terms

The radiant energy of the sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.

Category: Energy Terms

Energy generated that is beyond the immediate needs of the producing system. This energy may be supplied by spinning reserve and sold on an interruptible basis.

Category: Energy Terms

The process by which measurable electrical quantities from substations and generating stations are instantaneously transmitted to the control center, and, by which, operating commands from the control center are transmitted to the substations and generating stations.

Category: Energy Terms

Flat fee applied each month regardless of the amount of kilowatt(kWh) used.

Category: Energy Terms

A factor for converting energy data between one unit of measurement and British thermal units (Btu). Btu conversion factors are generally used to convert energy data from physical units of measure (such as barrels, cubic feet, or short tons) into the energy-equivalent measure of Btu.

Category: Energy Terms

A State-chartered, non-profit corporation which provides day-ahead and hour-ahead markets for energy and ancillary services in accordance with the power exchange tariff. The power exchange is a scheduling coordinator and is independent of both the independent system operator and all other market participants.

Category: Energy Terms

These prices are collected in 85 urban areas selected to represent all urban consumers about 80 percent of the total U.S. population. The service stations are selected initially and on a replacement basis, in such a way that they represent the purchasing habits of the CPI population. Service stations in the current sample include those providing all types of service (i.e., full, mini, and self service).

Category: Energy Terms

The cost of fuel, including the invoice price of fuel, transportation charges, taxes, commissions, insurance, and expenses associated with leased or owned equipment used to transport the fuel.

Category: Energy Terms

A system of synchronized power providers and consumers connected by transmission and distribution lines and operated by one or more control centers. In the continental United States, the electric power grid consists of three systems the Eastern Interconnect, the Western Interconnect, and the Texas Interconnect. In Alaska and Hawaii, several systems encompass areas smaller than the State (e.g., the interconnect serving Anchorage, Fairbanks, and the Kenai Peninsula; individual islands).

Category: Energy Terms

The process of replacing a monopolistic system of electric utility suppliers with competing sellers, allowing individual retail customers to choose their supplier but still receive delivery over the power lines of the local utility. It includes the reconfiguration of vertically-integrated electric utilities.

Category: Energy Terms

The electric utility sector consists of privately and publicly owned establishments that generate, transmit, distribute, or sell electricity primarily for use by the public and that meet the definition of an electric utility. Non utility power producers are not included in the electric sector.

Category: Energy Terms

A fact sheet that provides customers with standardized information about an electric plan, including contract terms, pricing, fees, and the percentage of renewable energy offered. The PUC requires an EFL for every plan so that customers can make an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the different offers.

Category: Energy Terms

A pipeline hub on the Louisiana Gulf coast. It is the delivery point for the natural gas futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

Category: Energy Terms

The price at which supply equals demand for the Day-ahead or hour-ahead markets.

Category: Energy Terms

The Provider of Last Resort (POLR) serves as the “back-up” provider when an electric company leaves the market for any reason. If this happens, customers may opt for service from the POLR or switch to another retailer.

Category: Energy Terms

Ratio of the cooling output divided by the power consumption. It is the Btu of cooling output during its normal annual usage divided by the total electric energy input in watt hours during the same period. This is a measure of the cooling performance for rating central air conditioners and central heat pumps. The appliance standards required a minimum SEER of 10 for split-system central air conditioners and for split-system central heat pumps in 1992. (The average heat pump or central air conditioner sold in 1986 had an SEER of about 9.)

Category: Energy Terms

A special electric rate feature under which the price per kilowatthour depends on the time of day.

Category: Energy Terms

The actual delivery of electricity over poles and wires to your home or business. These services are provided by your local wires company (often called the Transmission and Distribution Utility), which is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires and responding to emergencies and power outages. The PUC regulates transmission and distribution to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service.

Category: Energy Terms

Generation by electric systems engaged in selling electric energy to the public.

Category: Energy Terms

Municipal solid waste, landfill gas, methane, digester gas, liquid acetonitrile waste, tall oil, waste alcohol, medical waste, paper pellets, sludge waste, solid byproducts, tires, agricultural byproducts, closed loop biomass, fish oil, and straw used as fuel.

Category: Energy Terms

Any conservation system whereby some space heating or water heating is done by actively capturing byproduct heat that would otherwise be ejected into the environment. In commercial buildings, sources of water- heat recovery include refrigeration/air-conditioner compressors, manufacturing or other processes, data processing centers, lighting fixtures, ventilation exhaust air, and the occupants themselves. Not to be considered is the passive use of radiant heat from lighting, workers, motors, ovens, etc., when there are no special systems for collecting and redistributing heat.

Category: Energy Terms

Natural gas pipeline companies subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction.

Category: Energy Terms

Companies not subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction.

Category: Energy Terms

Any individually metered dwelling, building, establishment, or location using natural gas, synthetic natural gas, and/or mixtures of natural and supplemental gas for feedstock or as fuel for any purpose other than in oil or gas lease operations; natural gas treating or processing plants; or pipeline, distribution, or storage compressors.

Category: Energy Terms

The responsible entity that integrates resource plans ahead of time, maintains loadinterchange-generationnbalance within a Balancing Authority Area, and supportsnInterconnection frequency in real time

Category: Energy Terms

The Energy Information Administration. An independent agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that develops surveys, collects energy data, and analyzes and models energy issues. The Agency must meet the requests of Congress, other elements within the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Executive Branch, its own independent needs, and assist the general public, or other interest groups, without taking a policy position.

Category: Energy Terms

The corporation that administers and maintains the reliability of the state’s electrical power grid. When you choose a new electric company, ERCOT will send you a mailer confirming your switch. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers – representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 550 generating units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT’s members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers,) and municipal-owned electric utilities.

Category: Energy Terms

An independent agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that develops surveys, collects energy data, and does analytical and modeling analyses of energy issues. The Agency must satisfy the requests of Congress, other elements within the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Executive Branch, its own independent needs, and assist the general public, or other interest groups, without taking a policy position.

Category: Energy Terms

The Federal agency with jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, oil pipeline rates, and gas pipeline certification. FERC is an independent regulatory agency within the Department of Energy and is the successor to the Federal Power Commission.

Category: Energy Terms

A nonprofit corporation formed in 2006 as the successor to the North American Electric Reliability Council established to develop and maintain mandatory reliability standards for the bulk electric system, with the fundamental goal of maintaining and improving the reliability of that system. NERC consists of regional reliability entities covering the interconnected power regions of the contiguous United States, Canada, and Mexico

Category: Energy Terms

In 1975, the Texas Legislature enacted the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) and created the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to provide statewide regulation of the rates and services of electric and telecommunications utilities. Although the PUC originally regulated water utilities, jurisdiction was transferred to the Texas Water Commission in 1986. Significant legislation enacted by the Texas Legislature in 1995, along with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 (FTA), dramatically changed the PUC’s role by allowing for competition in telecommunications wholesale and retail services, and by creating a competitive electric wholesale market. In 1999, the Texas Legislature provided for the restructuring of the electric utility industry, allowing certain customers electric choice.nThe PUC’s mission and focus have shifted from regulation of rates and services to oversight of competitive markets and compliance enforcement of statutes and rules for the electric and telecommunication industries. Effective oversight of competitive wholesale and retail markets for electric and telecommunication is necessary to ensure that customers receive the benefits of competition. For water and sewer utility service, however, the focus remains on the regulation of rates and services.nThe PUC continues to perform its traditional regulatory function for electric transmission and distribution utilities across the state. Additionally, while integrated electric utilities outside of the ERCOT power grid remain fully regulated by the PUC, the PUC is increasingly involved in multi-state efforts to implement wholesale electric competitive market structures and transmission planning in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) areas.nIn 2013, the Texas Legislature transferred the economic regulation of water and sewer utilities to the PUC. This transfer involved the functions with respect to the regulation of water and sewer rates and services, Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCNs) and Sale/Transfer/Mergers from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to the PUC.

Category: Energy Terms

Renewable Energy

In this type of closed-loop geothermal heat pump installation, the fluid-filled plastic heat exchanger pipes are laid out in a plane perpendicular to the ground surface. For a vertical system, holes (approximately four inches in diameter) are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100 to 400 feet deep. Into these holes go two pipes that are connected at the bottom with a U-bend to form a loop. The vertical loops are connected with horizontal pipe (i.e., manifold), placed in trenches, and connected to the heat pump in the building. Large commercial buildings and schools often use vertical systems because the land area required for horizontal ground loops would be prohibitive. Vertical loops are also used where the soil is too shallow for trenching, or for existing buildings, as they minimize the disturbance to landscaping.

In this type of closed-loop geothermal heat pump installation, the fluid-filled plastic heat exchanger pipes are laid out in a plane perpendicular to the ground surface. For a vertical system, holes (approximately four inches in diameter) are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100 to 400 feet deep. Into these holes go two pipes that are connected at the bottom with a U-bend to form a loop. The vertical loops are connected with horizontal pipe (i.e., manifold), placed in trenches, and connected to the heat pump in the building. Large commercial buildings and schools often use vertical systems because the land area required for horizontal ground loops would be prohibitive. Vertical loops are also used where the soil is too shallow for trenching, or for existing buildings, as they minimize the disturbance to landscaping.

A type of (geothermal) heat pump that uses well (ground) or surface water as a heat source. Water has a more stable seasonal temperature than air thus making for a more efficient heat source.

A type of (geothermal) heat pump that uses well (ground) or surface water as a heat source. Water has a more stable seasonal temperature than air thus making for a more efficient heat source.

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