Technology Assessment Division

Louisiana Electric Utilities Volume 2 - Glossary

Avoided Cost - The incremental cost an electric utility avoids incurring by purchasing an equivalent amount of power from a qualifying facility (QF) instead of generating the power itself. This is the price electric utilities pay for a QF's output.

Bulb Turbines - Turbines whose turning shaft rests horizontally rather than vertically as is the case in most hydro plants. Bulb turbines were developed in Europe during the 1920's and are specifically designed for low head conditions.

Capability - The maximum load that a generating unit, generating station, or other electrical apparatus can carry under specified conditions for a given period of time without exceeding approved limits of temperature and stress. In the context of this report the terms "Capability" and "Net Summer Capability" are interchangeable.

Capacity - The full load continuous rating of a generator, prime mover, or other electric equipment under specified conditions as designated by the manufacturer. This report uses net summer capability as its statistic for measuring electric generator capacity of utilities. Therefore, all discussion of electric generator capacity in this report is based on the use of net summer capability data.

Cogeneration - The sequential production of electrical energy and useful thermal energy from the same fuel source.

Cooperative (Cooperatively-Owned Electric Utility) - A group of persons who have organized a joint venture for the purpose of supplying electric energy to a specified area. Such ventures are generally exempt from the Federal income tax laws. Most cooperatives have ben financed by the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), now called the Rural Utilities Services Administration.

Electric Power Industry - The public, private, and cooperative electric utility systems of the United States taken as a whole. This includes all electric systems serving the public: regulated investor-owned electric utility companies; Federal power projects; State, municipal, and other government-owned systems, including electric public utility districts; electric cooperatives, including Generation and Transmission entities ("G & Ts"); jointly owned electric utility facilities, and electric utility facilities owned by a lessor and leased to an electric utility. Excluded from this list are the special purpose electric facilities or systems that do not offer service to the public. The term appears to be evolving to include any privately owned generator that offers electricity for sale on the wholesale open market.

Electric Utility - An enterprise that is engaged in the generation, transmission, or distribution of electric energy primarily for use by the public and that is the major power supplier within a designated service area. Electric utilities include investor-owned, publicly-owned, cooperatively-owned, and government-owned (municipals, Federal agencies, State projects, and public power districts)systems. An entity that solely operates qualifying facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) is not considered an electric utility.

Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT) - Amends PUHCA to create a new class of independent power producers called exempt wholesale generators (EWGs) that are exempt from PUHCA. EPACT is designated to encourage competition in energy markets by significantly expanding the authority of FERC to order transmission access. It also makes it easier for utilities to operate unregulated subsidiaries that sell power to other utilities and industrial customers anywhere in the U. S. and even abroad. Profits from such sales are unregulated.

Exempt Wholesale Generator - A class of independent power producer created by EPACT that is exempt from PUHCA corporate organizational restrictions. An EWG may generate electricity and sell power wholesale to utilities and other wholesale bulk power purchasers, such as rural electric cooperatives. Any entity, whether currently subject to PUHCA or not, is permitted to own EWGs without limitation. For registered holding companies, approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required for the financing of EWGs as well as service sales and construction contracts involving EWGs.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) - An independent agency created within the Department of Energy (October 1, 1977), FERC is vested with broad regulatory authority. Virtually every facet of electric and natural gas production, transmission, and sales conducted by private investor-owned utilities, corporations or public marketing agencies was placed under commission purview through either direct or indirect jurisdiction if any aspect of their operations were conducted in interstate commerce. As successor to the former Federal Power Commission (FPC), the FERC inherited practically all of the FPC's interstate regulatory functions over the electric power and natural gas industries.

Fuel - Any substance that can be burned to produce heat; also, materials that can be fissioned in a chain reaction to produce heat.

Gigawatt (GW) - one billion watts.

Gigawatthour (GWH) - One billion watthours, or one million kilowatthours.

Government-Owned Electric Utility - Municipally-owned electric systems and federal and state public power projects. Cooperatives are not included in this grouping. The term is interchangeable with Publicly-Owned Electric Utility.

Grid - The layout of an electrical distribution system.

Gross Generation - The total amount of electric energy produced by the generating units at a generating station or stations, measured at generator terminals.

Hydroelectric Plant - A plant in which the turbine generators are driven by falling water.

Independent Power Producer (IPP) - A class of privately owned, no-utility generator that builds power plants mainly to supply and sell power to electric utilities.

Investor-Owned Electric Utility - A class of utility ownership that is privately owned and organized as a tax paying business, usually financed by the sale of securities in the capital markets.

Kilowatt (KW) - One thousand watts.

Kilowatthour (KWH) - One thousand watthours.

Load (Electric) - The amount of electric power delivered or required at any specific point(s) on a system. The requirement originates at the energy-consuming equipment of the customers.

Low Head Hydro - Where head water level at station intake and tail water level at station discharge is 25 ft. of less.

Megawatt (MW) - One million watts.

Megawatthour (MWH) - One million watthours.

Net Generation - Gross generation less the electric energy consumed at the generating station for station use.

Net Summer Capability - The steady hourly output which generating equipment is expected to supply to system load exclusive of auxiliary power, as demonstrated by tests at the time of summer peak demand.

Non-Coincidental Capability - The sum of two or more capabilities of individual systems that were available at the time of the peak load of the individual system. Generally, the capability of an individual system at its peak load does not occur during the same time interval as the capability of another system at its peak load. Meaningful only when considering capabilities and loads within a limited period of time, such as a day, week, month, a heating or cooling season, and usually for not more than one year.

Non-Coincidental Peak Load - The sum of two or more peak loads on individual systems that do not occur in the same time interval. Meaningful only when considering loads within a limited period of time, such as a day, week, month, a heating or cooling season, and usually for not more than one year.

Non-Utility Generator (NUG) - A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns electric generating capacity and is not an electric utility. The entity generates on-site all or part of its electricity requirements, does not sell to the public, and may or may not sell electricity to electric utilities.

Operable - A generating unit is operable when it is available to provide power to the grid. For a nuclear unit, this is when it receives its full power amendment to its operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Peak Load - The demand at the instant of greatest load, usually determined from the readings of indicating or graphic meters.

Percent Capacity Margin - The difference between capability and peak load divided by capability time 100.

Percent Reserve Margin - The difference between capability and peak load divided by peak load times 100.

Power - The rate at which energy is transferred. Electrical energy is usually measured in watts. The term is also used for a measurement of capacity.

Privately Owned Electric Utility - See Investor-Owned Electric Utility

Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA) - Gave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the authority to break up the large and powerful trusts that controlled the nation's electric and gas distribution networks and to regulate the reorganized industry to prevent their return. In response to arguments that PUCHA's regulations were impediments to the development of an efficient electricity market, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 was enacted to encourage competition in energy markets.

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) - One part of the National Energy Act, PURPA contains measures designed to encourage the conservation of energy, more efficient use of resources, and equitable rates. Principal among these were suggested retail rate reforms and new incentives for production of electricity by cogenerators and users of renewable resources. PURPA requires utilities to purchase power from qualifying facilities at the utility's avoided cost.

Publicly-Owned Electric Utility - A class of ownership found in the electric power industry that includes those utilities operated by municipalities, state, and federal power agencies.

Qualifying Facility (QF) - This is a cogenerator, small power producer, or non-utility generator that meets certain ownership, operating and efficiency criteria established by the Federal Energy Regulatory (FERC) pursuant to PURPA, and has filed with the FERC for QF status or has self- certified. QFs are guaranteed that electric utilities will purchase their output at the utility's avoided cost. For additional information, see the Code of Federal Regulation, Title 18, Part 292.

Renewable Energy Source - An energy source that is regenerative or virtually inexhaustible. Typical examples are wind, biomass, geothermal, and water power.

Run-of-the River Hydroelectric Plant - A low head plant using the flow of a stream as it occurs, and having little or no reservoir capacity for storage. (See Hydroelectric Plant)

Rural Electrification Administration (REA) - A credit agency of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which assists rural electric and telephone utilities to obtain financing. REA was established by Executive Order No. 7037 of May 11, 1935, and given statutory authority by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. In 1994 the name was changed to Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

Rural Utilities Service (RUS) - See Rural Electrification Administration

Small Power Producer (SPP) - According to PURPA a facility limited to a capacity of 80 MW and generating electricity using renewable energy as a primary source. In 1990 the capacity limit was removed for certain specific energy sources, but it was reinstated in 1995 when Congress did not act to continue the removal.

Total Net Generation Available to the Statewide Power Grid - Consists of utility net generation by plants within Louisiana plus power purchased by the utilities from non-utility generating sources within the state. It does not include self-generated power that is consumed on site by non-utility generators (NUGs) or power purchased by the utilities fro out of state generating sources.

Total Statewide Generation or Net Generation by All Sources - Consists of utility net generation by plants within Louisiana, plus the total generation of all non-utility generating sources within the state. The term includes self-generated power that is consumed on site by non-utility generators (NUGs).

Wheeling Service - The use of the transmission facilities of one system to transmit power and energy by agreement of, and for, another system with a corresponding usage fee, or "wheeling charge".