Glossary of Terms Used by Utilities and Their Regulators
The following are entries for a selected glossary of terms used in the regulation and operation of utilities. It is not intended to be all-inclusive, but rather as an introduction in plain language to the meaning of some otherwise arcane sets of initials and combinations of words. They are grouped under headings indicating the context in which they usually are used.
D. Utility Finance
F. Consumer Services
H. Energy Conservation
I. Demand Side Planning
L. Utility Efficiency and Productivity
Abbreviation for American Gas Association, the trade association of the gas distribution and transmission industry.
Continuing corrosion of pipeline facilities, which unless controlled, could result in leaks.
The positive pole or electrode of an electrolytic cell; anodes are attached to steel pipelines to prevent corrosion.
The material used to refill a ditch or other excavation, or the process of doing so.
Bar hold test surveys
Leakage surveys made by driving or boring holes at regular intervals along the route of an underground gas pipe and testing the atmosphere in the holes for the presence of gas with a combustible gas detector or other suitable device.
The time interval during which all meters of a class or sub-class of customers are read. The reading of meters is generally distributed over a period of time (one or two months). A billing cycle comprises the time from the date the first customer of the group is read until the last customer is read.
Ordinarily butane or propane, or butane and propane mixtures, liquefied and bottled under pressure for domestic use.
Bunker "C " or No. 6 fuel oil
A heavy residual fuel oil used by ships, industry, and for large-scale heating installations.
Devices used extensively in measuring the quantity of the heat content of natural gas.
Meter stations which serve as designated point(s) on a distribution system where the distributor takes delivery of its gas supply from a pipeline source.
The conversion of coal into a gas which is suitable for use as a fuel. The gas produced may be either a high-Btu or a low-Btu fuel. High-Btu gas is similar to natural gas and will range in energy content from 900 to 1,000 Btu per cubic foot. Low-Btu gas may range as low as 200 Btu per cubic foot.
The sum of two or more demands which occur in the same time interval.
Combustible gas indicator (CGI)
A portable instrument used in leak detection to determine accurately the methane content in a given area.
The cost per unit volume of gas actually delivered to the buyer. The commodity charge is basically made up of the field purchase cost, the transmission costs that depend on the amount of gas transported, and a portion of the fixed costs of the transmission company.
A plant used by a utility in rendering more than one type of service, such as electric and gas, i.e., a corporate headquarters, computer equipment.
Compressed Natural Gas (LPG)
Natural gas (or propane) that is compressed to a liquid state and is several times the atmospheric pressure.
A machine which draws in air or other gas, compresses it, and discharges it at a higher pressure. A jet engine is one form used in upgrading pressures for the transmission of gas. Truck mounted compressors are used in the distribution industry to operate equipment such as "jack hammers."
Any permanent combination of facilities which supplies the energy to move gas in transmission lines or into storage fields.
The liquid resulting when a vapor is subjected to cooling and/or pressure reduction.
The combining of the quantities of gas from two or more meters into a single quantity for the purpose of billing as if the usages were from a single meter. Sometimes referred to as combined billing.
A fee charged to a customer to connect the customer's and supplier's facilities.
Natural gas reserves dedicated to the fulfillment of gas purchase contracts.
Petroleum in its natural unprocessed or unrefined state; a mixture of various different hydrocarbons. The mixture varies widely from one oil field to another.
Current (top) gas
The total volume of gas injected in a storage reservoir in off-peak periods which is available for delivery into transmission systems during periods of higher demand. As top gas is withdrawn, reservoir pressure drops and the rate of delivery declines.
Cushion (base) gas
The total volume of gas which will maintain storage reservoir pressure sufficient to deliver gas back into transmission systems. The volume of cushion gas is generally constant and its value is treated as part of a utility's rate base.
The volume of gas which a well, production field, pipeline or distribution system can deliver in a given period of time.
The rate at which gas is delivered to or by a system, part of a system, or a piece of equipment, expressed in cubic feet or therms or multiples thereof, for a designated period of time called the demand interval.
A contract under which a purchaser reserves a set maximum daily quantity of pipeline capacity.
Individual customers on a system impose peak requirements at different times. The overall variation in time which a customer's demands occur is called demand diversity.
The period of time on a system when overall demand is at its highest.
The sum of two or more individual maximum customer demands, that do not necessarily occur at the same time.
Depreciation reserve deficiency/surplus
The amount that the accumulated reserve for depreciation is less than (deficiency) or more than (surplus) reserve requirement based on plant vintages and the expected date the plant will be retired.
A 24-hour period of the greatest theoretical gas demand, used as basis for designing purchase contracts, and/or production facilities, and/or delivery capacity.
An industry practice where one company accepts delivery of gas and redelivers a like amount (less an allowance for losses) to another company for the account of a third party.
A classification of fuel oils which are lighter than some used in space and water heating. The major market for distillates is in the automatic central heating of single residences, and smaller apartment houses and buildings.
A pipeline which moves gas from a transmission facility, at generally lower pressures, for the ultimate consumption by end users.
An exploratory or development well found to be incapable of producing oil and/or gas in sufficient quantities to justify completion.
Favored nation clause
A form of an indefinite price escalator clause which ties the price to be paid for natural gas to the highest price, or average of the three highest prices, paid for gas in a producing field or larger geographic area.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Federal agency which regulates the rates and service of interstate suppliers of electricity, and natural gas and oil transmission pipelines.
FERC rate design
Applies to pipelines which generally serve under a demand-commodity type rate structure. All variable costs, basically the purchased gas and compressor (pumping) fuel are included in the commodity portion of the rate. Fixed costs, such as wages, taxes, depreciation, are split between demand and commodity. Four basic forms of rate design used are:
Seaboard-Traditional rate design
50% of fixed cost in demand and 50% in commodity. Adopted to give recognition that a pipeline serves both peak and annual usages.
Rate design used in the 1940s for interstate pipelines and superseded by Seaboard. It places all fixed costs in demand. The commodity portion of the rate only contains a system's variable costs. The rationale behind this design is that the pipeline is sized (designed) to meet the systems peak load.
Places a pipeline's equity in the commodity portion of the rate, generally in the 25% to 35% range, and the remainder in demand. The purpose of this design is to unload cost from the commodity portion of the rate to make interruptible sales competitive with oil.
United-Opposite approach of modified fixed-variable
25% fixed cost in demand and 75% in commodity. Adopted during curtailment years to discourage sales to industry (i.e., interruptible rates based upon the commodity cost of gas). This design lost favor in the current price competitive gas market.
The raw material supplied to a processing plant for the chemical transformation to an intermediate or end product. Two examples of feedstocks are natural gas which is used for the production of fertilizers and plastics, and Naptha which is used for the production of synthetic natural gas (SNG).
Gas discarded after the heating value has been substantially spent, to the flue, stack or chimney. Improper ventilation can lead to asphyxiation.
An unexpected major occurrence which alters the application of the terms of a contract; sometimes referred to as "an act of God."
Occurs at a production well when decreases in temperature cause non-hydrocarbon components in the gas stream, such as water, to freeze and inhibit or block the normal flow of gas. The temperature drop is usually a result of either a decrease in pressure caused by rapid gas expansion, such as opening up a well to increase flow rates, and falling atmospheric temperatures.
An electrochemical device to convert chemical energy directly into electricity. It is similar in some respects to a storage battery or a dry cell. Like a battery, the fuel cell produces electricity by a chemical reaction. Unlike a storage battery, the fuel cell continues to produce electricity as long as fuel is added. In this respect, a fuel cell operates like an engine.
Natural gas, flammable gas, or other gas which is toxic or corrosive.
A layer of gas that rests above oil in an underground porous structure, or reservoir.
Gas casinghead (wet natural gas)
Associated and dissolved gas produced along with crude oil from oil wells. Sometimes called oil well gas or solution gas.
Gas cost adjustment (GCA)
A method of reflecting changes from month to month in the cost to a utility of gas supplied to customers. Elements in the calculation include changes in the price and quantities of gas from various pipeline suppliers, refunds ordered by FERC, and any reconciliation between GCA revenues and the actual payments utilities made for gas in the prior year.
Gas detector surveys
Are a type of leakage survey conducted by sampling with a gas detector instrument which has, as a minimum, a sensitivity equal to that of a combustible gas indicator (CGI).
A gas pipeline that transports gas from a production facility to a transmission line or main.
An amendment to the Natural Gas Act which exempts a distribution company from FERC regulations on the transportation and sale for resale of interstate natural gas received within the boundaries of a state, provided (1) all such gas is ultimately consumed within the state, and (2) the facilities and rates are regulated by the state.
Indefinite price escalator clause
A clause in contracts with producers which ties the price to be paid for natural gas to some other commodity, generally oil. The unknown quantification of the movement in price leads to the term "indefinite."
Gas sold to the electric or steam departments in a combination utility for use as fuel in steam or electric production.
Customers are served by pipelines which cross state borders and sales are subject to FERC jurisdiction.
Customer supply is produced and transported through a pipeline system which does not leave the state. Sales in the intrastate market are not regulated by the FERC.
Inventory of gas in a pipeline, or in a gas distribution system. By increasing the pressure in a pipeline a utility can store natural gas in order to meet a peak demand of short duration.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Natural gas cooled to 259 F forms a liquid at atmospheric pressure. As natural gas liquefies, the volume is reduced 600 times, making both storage and long distance transportation economically feasible.
A given send out of gas which remains fairly constant over a period of time. Base load demands are not used in calculating space heating requirements since they do not vary with changes in temperature.
Load duration curve
A graph made by plotting load data, in descending order of magnitude, against time to determine the economics of alternative supplies to meet various levels of requirements.
A geographic area classified according to its approximate population density and its other characteristics that are considered when prescribing types of construction and methods of testing pipelines to be located in the area.
Paralleling an existing pipeline by another pipeline over its whole length, or part of it, to increase the capability and/or reliability of the lines without adding compression.
The portion of gas flowing into the distribution system which is not accounted for by sales, company use, or other known dispositions of gas.
Lower explosive limit (LEL)
The minimum concentration of natural gas in air which forms an explosive mixture.
Market out clause
Permits a party to escape from the terms of a gas purchase contract upon certain conditions such as the contract price renders it unmarketable. This is generally an economic type escape clause and should not be confused with the force majeure clause.
Maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP)
The maximum pressure at which a gas system may be operated in accordance with the rules and regulations of the State's gas safety code.
A colorless, odorless and flammable hydrocarbon gas. It is the major component of natural gas, making up roughly 85-90% of natural gas by volume.
The ownership of subsurface minerals under land or water. It is the legal right of a landowner to separate the ownership of subsurface minerals from the ownership of the land.
Minimum bill clause
A clause generally in tariffs between pipelines and its customers which provides that the charge for a prescribed period shall not be less than a specified amount. The charge includes only the pipeline's fixed cost. FERC is gradually eliminating this charge from pipeline tariffs.
Natural Gas Act (NGA)
Federal legislation enacted in l938, which establishes FERC's authority to regulate interstate pipelines.
Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA)
Federal legislation which updates the NGA and provides for deregulation of new gas and continued regulation of old supplies.
Natural gas reserves
The estimates of gas volumes in natural underground geological formations:
Possible natural gas reserves
An estimate of the ultimate volumes of natural gas in place in a specified area whether or not presently considered proved or recoverable.
Proved recoverable natural gas reserve
An estimate of the quantity of natural gas which geological and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in the future from known oil and gas reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. Reservoirs which are considered proved have demonstrated the ability to produce through either actual production or conclusive formation testing.
Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV)
A motor vehicle fueled in whole or in part by natural gas.
A methodology to determine the market clearing price of gas at the well head by starting with the burner tip price and backing off distribution and transmission expenses, and severance taxes.
A system of distribution lines cross-connected and operated to permit multiple supply to any principal point it serves.
Gas produced from new formations or fields, through drilling which started after April 1977. All new gas is subject to deregulation under the NGPA.
A substance which is added to natural gas to give it a perceptible odor so that its presence can be detected. The odorant most commonly used is known as MERCAPTAN.
Gas produced before April l977 or from new wells drilled in old formations and not subject to deregulation under the NPGA.
A measurement to test the ability of gas to flow through a porous source, such as sandstone.
All parts of those physical facilities through which gas moves in transportation; including pipe, valves, and other appurtenances attached to pipe, compressor units, metering stations, regulator stations, delivery stations, holders and fabricated assemblies.
Localized corrosion of a metal service, confined to a small area which takes the form of cavities.
The force or thrust exerted on a surface, normally expressed as force per unit area. Pressure is exerted in all directions in a system. Common examples are air pressure in a tire or water pressure at some depth in the ocean.
The decrease in pressure due to friction, which occurs when gas passes through a pipe, vessel, or other piece of equipment.
Pressure regulating station
Consists of equipment installed for the purpose of automatically reducing and regulating the pressure in the downstream pipeline to which it is connected.
Use of natural gas in a manufacturing process that utilizes its unique properties.
The interposing of an inert substance between two sources being interchanged to prevent the formation of explosive mixtures.
Purging into service
Replacement of the air in a pipe by an inert gas, which is in turn replaced by natural gas.
Replacement of the natural gas in a pipe by an inert gas, which is in turn replaced by air.
Rate Forms Used by Distribution Companies
Following are various rates which are used:
a commodity rate structure where blocks of consumption are sold at different rates to recognize differences in cost of service, etc. Most commonly the block rates decline as consumption increases.
the unit rate charged for each unit of gas actually purchased under a contract.
a fixed charge per unit of reserved capacity, levied each month, based on the contract or maximum demand of a customer, regardless of the volume of gas actually delivered. Most distribution utilities purchase gas from pipelines under parted rates, with demand as one part based on the requirement on the highest day of the year. Demand rates are not used by New York State gas distribution companies.
a system which permits the price of gas service to fluctuate on the basis of competitive conditions, usually within a specified floor and ceiling range. The actual rate may be determined by formula or solely at the discretion of the utility.
Interruptible or seasonal rate
a discounted rate structure available during off-peak periods and which can generally be interrupted at the option of the utility.
Temperature controlled rate
a rate structure which requires interruption of service and transfer of service to another fuel source when temperatures drop to a certain level (generally 20 degrees F) and resume service when temperatures rise (normally 25 degrees F). Interruptions and resumptions are generally automatically controlled by temperature sensitive switching equipment.
the charging for gas service on the basis of energy delivered (Btu's) as compared to volumetric rates (Ccf's). With therm rates, gas deliveries metered volumetrically are converted to therms for billing purposes on the basis of the heat content. Therm rates may be used in conjunction with other rate forms, e.g., flat rates or block rates.
Geographic sections of a utility or pipeline service area in which different rate levels exist due to cost-of-service differences, such as the distance from supply source on long pipelines or the heat content of the product.
The operative clause which permits gas supply contracts to be renegotiated to reflect changes brought about by either changes in market conditions or implementation of indefinite price escalator or favored nation clauses.
A porous and permeable underground formation containing a natural accumulation of producible hydrocarbons, oil and/or gas, which is confined by rock or water and is characterized by a natural pressure system.
The method of drilling wells using a cutting bit attached to a rotating drill stem. The majority of deep gas wells are drilled using this method, replacing cable tool drilling, which involves lifting and dropping a drill bit suspended on a cable.
Moneys paid to the owner of mineral rights as payment for the minerals removed. A common royalty to the landowner (lessor) usually amounts to 12 1/2 percent of the value of oil and/or gas produced. The royalty owner is not subject to any drilling or operational expenses incurred by the lessee.
The piping in a distribution system that transports gas from a distribution main to the outlet of a customer meter set assembly.
Service line valve
A valve accessible and operable in the service line ahead of the service regulator, or ahead of the meter if a regulator is not provided, for the purpose of shutting off the supply of gas to the customer's fuel line. This valve is also known as a service line shut-off, a service line cock, or a meter stop.
The regulator installed on a gas service line to control the pressure of the gas delivered to the customer.
A gas and/or oil well where valves are closed so there is no flow. For example, a gas well may be shut-in due to lack of a market for the gas.
The net change in the level of unbilled revenues over an accounting period. The slippage usually reflects the difference in unbilled revenues for a 12 month period.
The actual starting date of drilling operations.
The metering of gas by the customer after purchase at the utility meter, generally for distribution and charge to end-user building tenants.
Substitute natural gas or synthetic natural gas (SNG)
The conversion of other gases, liquids or solid hydrocarbons to a gaseous fuel of heat content, compatibility, and quality equivalent in performance to that of domestic natural gas.
Contract provision which requires the buyer to purchase or pay for if not taken, a stated percent of the gas proffered by a producer.
Thermal rate zone
A geographic section of a utility service territory, throughout which the heat content of gas service is relatively uniform. Multiple thermal rate zones may be established within a service territory which receive gas from different supply sources with various heat contents to ensure equitable rate treatment for customers.
Types of Natural Gas Service
the delivery of gas to a customer, not subject to interruption. This service generally is the highest priority and provided at a higher cost. Residential and smaller commercial and industrial customers are usually firm service customers.
the delivery of gas to a customer, subject to interruption of service at the discretion of the utility, generally because of system supply or capacity limitations. Interruption may be manually controlled by the utility and/or automatic, based on outside temperatures.
see seasonal service.
the delivery of gas sold only during certain periods of the year, generally at times other than at high system demands, on a firm or an interruptible basis.
the placement of distribution-owned gas in underground storage facilities of a pipeline during the summer when customer demand is low, and the withdrawal of those supplies during winter periods of higher gas consumption. Pipeline rates for storage service usually consist of a capacity charge (reserving a given volume of space), injection and withdrawal charges for movement of gas, and a commodity charge based on the actual volumes in storage.
The estimated amount of service which has been rendered but not billed at the end of any accounting period.
Value of service
The recognition that the provision of service may have a value to the customer different than the cost of providing service. Value of service may include consideration of the direct and indirect costs of alternative fuels (cost per Btu, burning efficiencies, maintenance, storage requirement), premium quality (clean burning, air emissions).
Surveys to identify leaks in underground gas pipelines by observing vegetation.
An adjustment made to a utility's sales and revenues by assuming that the weather was normal during the period such sales and revenues occurred. ("Normal" is usually calculated by taking the average of the previous 30 years of weather data.)
Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG)
Measurement calculated by the average cost of all purchases weighted by the volumes taken at various prices. Usually referenced for interstate pipelines as a benchmark (floor) in conjunction with special contract sales.
An exploratory well drilled in an attempt to discover a new field or pool in an area in which there has been no previous record of oil or gas production.
The cost of generating power that a utility avoids by purchasing the same amount of power from another source. A commonly used form consists of a forecast of future avoided costs, known as a long range avoided cost (LRAC) projections.
Base load unit
A generating unit operated close to its maximum output all the time it is available for service; generally, units whose energy costs are among the lowest on the system.
The load for which a generating unit is rated by its manufacturer. For an electric system, the total load rating for all generating units.
The ratio of actual output for a specific time period to the maximum output possible during that period.
Generally, the use of a single source to provide steam or other energy for an industrial or commercial production o r process AND to generate electricity.
The charge to a customer which is designed to compensate the utility for the costs it incurs as a result of that customer's subscription to utility service, irrespective of the customer's eventual demand or energy use. For example, metering costs, including the cost of this meter and the cost of mutual reading, are components which contribute to the customer charge.
The charge to a customer based on the maximum demand generally denoted in kilowatts its use of electricity places on the system. The demand charge is designed to compensate the utility for the fixed costs of equipment required to meet the demand.
A circuit in a distribution system operating at relatively low voltage.
The circuits that deliver power directly to the customer. These are operated at relatively low voltages.
Electric Revenue Adjustment Mechanism (ERAM)
A device intended to insulate a utility's margin (non-fuel related revenues) from variations from electric sales forecasts used to establish a utility's revenue requirement in rate proceedings.
Embedded Cost of Service (ECOS)
A study, generally, of the historic revenues and costs incurred by the utility in providing electricity to its customers, by customer class. The study indicates the rate of return for the entire electric system and also for each individual customer class.
Billing for the use of electricity expressed as kilowatt hours designed to recover fuel and other operating expenses of the utility.
Forced (unplanned) outage
The emergency shut down of a generating plant because of unexpected problems.
Fuel adjustment clause (FAC)
A rate mechanism designed originally to reflect month-to-month changes in the cost of fuel per kilowatt hour in customers' bills. The Commission generally limits the pass through in accordance with fuel cost estimates adopted in rate cases. FAC also is used to flow credits and refunds of limited duration to ratepayers.
A measure of generating plant heat efficiency, generally expressed in Btu per net kilowatt hour.
Independent Power Producer (IPP)
Note Non utility Generator.
The ratio of the amount of electricity used during a specific time period to the maximum possible use during that period.
Local distribution company (LDC)
A company which obtains the major portion of its gas operating revenues from the operation of a retail gas distribution system, and which operates no transmission system other than incidental connections within its own system or to the system of another company.
Long Run Avoided Cost (LRAC)
A projection of the forecasted avoided cost for each year up to 20 years in the future. PURPA requires utilities to sign contracts with qualifying facilities at avoided cost rates.
Loss of load probability
A calculation of the probability that system demand will exceed system capacity in a given period, often expressed as number of incidents per year.
Non utility generator (NUG)
Any of a variety of unregulated suppliers of capacity and/or energy to a regulation utility. Sometimes referred to as an Independent Power Producer (IPPS).
A generating unit used to meet the portion of peak load that cannot be met by base load units. Generally, these are higher energy cost units, such as gas turbines.
Primary (and secondary) lines
The electric lines delivering power from the substation to the customer are primary and secondary lines.
Probability of negative margin (PONM)
The probability that load at a point in time cannot be met by available supply without voltage reductions or other emergency actions; that is, that there will be a negative reserve margin.
Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of l978 (PURPA)
Requires utilities to purchase power from qualifying cogeneration, small hydro or waste-fueled facilities, under contracts priced as the utilities avoided cost; i.e., the incremental cost to the utility of electricity it would generate itself, if it did not purchase that electricity from a qualifying facility.
Qualifying facility (QF)
A non utility electric generator, such as a cogenerator of any size which meets specified efficiency standards and renewable's under 80 MW, and which qualifies for certain benefits under federal statutes, i.e., engaging in wholesale power sales without FERC regulation of their profits.
Prices determined according to conditions existing at the time of pricing (or no more than a day in advance of pricing).
The assignment of a utility's revenue responsibility to the various customer classes usually in relation to each classes contribution to utility costs as reflected in cost of service studies.
A customer who applies for and receives utility service periodically each year, intermittently during the year, or at other irregular intervals.
A customer's wiring from the point of attachment or termination of the service lateral to and including the main service switch on the customer's premises.
Service Line (Lateral)
A system of conductors and equipment for delivering electricity from the company's distribution system to the customer's wiring system of a building or premises.
Also known as "temporary nonresidential customer". A nonresidential customer who applies for and receives electric service for a specified time that does not exceed a period of two years.
Also known as "temporary residential customer"
A residential customer who applies for and receives electric service for a specified time that does not exceed a period of one year.
Six Cent Law
Public Service Law, Section 66-c, which provided that utilities shall enter into contracts with qualifying cogeneration, small hydro and alternate energy facilities priced at a minimum rate of six cents per kWh. The minimum rate provision was repealed in l992, but existing contracts were grand fathered against the repeal.
The practice of reselling electricity to tenants in a building whose owner buys the electricity through a single meter from the utility. Separate meters for tenants may or may not be used.
The location for equipment that makes up the interface from transmission to distribution. This includes transformers and various protection devices.
A device that changes electricity from one voltage to another, for example, from transmission voltage to distribution voltage.
The transportation of electric energy in bulk at high voltages, generally from a generating unit to a substation or for transfer between utility systems.
Charges an interexchange carrier pays to a local exchange carrier for use of the local exchange network to complete interexchange calls.
The circuit connecting a subscriber to a telephone company's central office.
Alternative local transporters (ALTs)
Companies that compete with established local exchange carriers in providing subscribers access to long distance companies (also known as CAPs- competitive access providers).
Alternative operator services (AOS)
AOS providers compete with established interexchange carriers to supply operator services such as credit card, collect, and third party billed calls.
Base rate area (BRA)
The built-up central core area nearest a telephone central office.
Bell operating company (BOC)
One of the former operating subsidiaries of AT&T.
The provision of telephone service without using the local exchange or toll network of a regulated telephone utility.
Call ID service
The product name for calling number identification (CNI) service. This service displays the number of the calling party to the called party. A small unit attached to the telephone is necessary for this display.
Radio telephone service that uses multiple transmitters in overlapping cells to ensure continuity of message service.
Central Office Equipment (COE)
Switching and related equipment on the company's premises.
Physical collocation is the placement of competitor's equipment in a local.
A service offering of local exchange carriers that provides access to the network as well as intercom functions within a subscriber's premise. Centrex competes with the capabilities and functions of customer provided private branch exchanges.
Physical collocation is the placement of competitor's equipment in a local exchange carrier's central offices in order to provide comparably efficient interconnection. Virtual collocation refers to arrangements short of physical collocation intended to provide CEI.
Common channel signaling
An electronic means of signaling (sending call set up, routing and other information) between switches independent of the communications transmission path. Signaling system seven (SS7) is the current generation of CCS now being used.
Community antenna television (CATV)
The original name for cable television companies. The New York State Public Service Commission regulates the charges that electric and telephone utilities can charge them for the use of utility poles.
Comparably efficient interconnection (CEI)
Connection to a telephone company's facilities by a (usually competitive) provider of telecommunications services, in a manner which gives the provider functional and economic equivalence as if it were the telephone company using its own facilities.
The subsidization of one product or service with the revenues of another.
Customer access line charge (CALC)
The name originally given the interstate access charge imposed by the Federal Communications Commission.
Customer-owned coin-operated telephone (COCOT)
Privately owned telephones similar to telephone company owned coin telephones. They are usually available for use by the general public and require the caller to pay with coin or currency or arrange payment for calls at the time the calls are made. COCOTs, unlike telephone company owned coin telephones, are capable of performing most of their own billing functions.
Customer premises equipment (CPE)
All telecommunications equipment and wire owned by the customer.
The wire connecting the telephone company's outside (or underground) cable to the subscriber's premises.
End Office/Central Office
A local exchange carrier switch where subscriber loops are terminated to interconnect for toll and local calling.
Also called information services. These differ from basic transmission service in that they involve computer processing acts on the format, content, code, protocol or similar aspects of the transmitted information, or provide the customer additional information. Some examples of enhanced services are: voice mail, answering machine-like services, usually with sophisticated features which allow callers to choose how their call will be handled; "dial it" services, adult and other information lines which are usually reached by dialing "900" area codes.
Enhanced 911 (E911) emergency service
Provides automatic routing of a customer's call to the proper dispatcher who then receives identification of the caller and location of the caller.
The provision of service that permits subscribers to complete toll calls through a long-distance carrier without using an identification code when placing the call.
Equal life group
A method of calculating the depreciation allowance for telephone equipment by placing it in groups with estimated relatively equal useful lives.
Extended area service (EAS)
Provision of extended calling beyond the subscriber's primary calling area, at local rates.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The regulatory agency for interstate communications.
Federal transfer surcharge (FTS)
The identification on New York telephone bills of charges for costs transferred to State jurisdiction by the FCC.
Flat rate service
Set monthly rate with unlimited local calls at no additional charge.
A rate structure permitted generally for competitive services in which a company's tariff specifies maximum and minimum rate levels, or a range within which actual charges may be changed on short notice to affected customers and the Commission.
Foreign exchange (FX)
Provision of local service through an exchange to a customer located in another exchange.
Independent telephone company
A non-Bell operating company. There are 40 independent telephone companies in the state.
Integrated services digital network (ISDN)
A telecommunications system which employs new technologies to convert voice, data and video transmissions into digital signals for high speed transmission over existing telephone networks.
Inter-exchange carrier (IXC)
A company that provides, over its own facilities, service between local exchanges or toll service.
Investment recovery charge (IRC)
A monthly charge by New York Telephone to a customer leasing a telephone from AT&T. The charge is designed to recover investment that was not transferred from New York Telephone to AT&T at the time of divestiture.
Special service available to low income subscribers who qualify for certain social assistance programs at subsidized rates for connection, access and usage.
Local access and transport area (LATA)
Service territories which New York Telephone may provide local and toll service, as a result of the divestiture of local operating companies by AT&T.
Local exchange carrier (LEC)
A telephone company that provides basic local service.
The connection between the subscriber's premises and the local end office. A loop is composed of a link and a port. Wire (or channel) between the premise and end office switching equipment is a link. The port is the physical point of connection to the telephone company's switch. It is part of the communications channel over which dial tone, dialing, conversation and various call-control signals are carried. The port is unique for each line, thereby providing identification of the line for billing or other purposes.
A monthly charge levied on single-party subscribers outside the BRA to compensate the utility for the average financing and maintenance costs of the additional length of the outside wire linking the subscriber to the central office.
A pair of wires (or equivalent) linking a customer's premises with the central office serving the premises.
Message rate service
A local service in which a charge is made for each call completed.
Message telecommunications service (MTS)
Switched intra- and interstate long distance service.
Modification of final judgment (MFJ)
The court document, signed on August 24, l982, that modified (actually replaced in its entirety) the Consent Decree (Final Judgment) of January 24, l956. Actual divestiture of the regional bell operating companies (i.e., NYNEX) from AT&T occurred on January 1, l984.
Network interface (NI)
The NI provides a jack, which is the demarcation between the facilities of the telephone company and those of the customer. The SNI does the same and, for an additional fee, contains circuitry which permits the telephone company, under particular (and uncommon) circumstances, to determine the location of some trouble conditions without visiting the customer's premises.
Non-traffic sensitive (NTS)
Fixed costs that do not vary by volume of use.
Open network architecture (ONA)
A framework that permits all users of the network to interconnect to its functions and interfaces on an unbundled and equal access basis.
Personal communications services (PCS)
(No single definition exists.) The fundamental concept is of untethered (radio) access to the telephone network, providing features of portability and mobility, involving some type of wireless connection. Cellular and cordless phones are early forms of PCS.
Point of presence (POP)
A physical location within a LATA where an IXC establishes itself to obtain local access.
Private branch exchange (PBX)
Switching equipment owned by a customer and located on its premises for routing calls.
Regional holding company (RHC)
Any of the seven regional companies that now control the BOCs through common stock ownership.
A regulated company that does not own transmission facilities but subscribes to services provided by other regulated companies and resells the services to the public.
The process by which telephone utility costs are distributed between intrastate and interstate services.
Shared tenant services
A service providing tenants in a building access to the telephone network through a privately-owned PBX.
Signaling System 7 (SS7)
Subscriber line charge (SLC) (formerly CALC)
Term used by the FCC to describe scheduled additions to current access charges.
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), Teletypewriter (TTY)
Both are typewriter-like devices attached to telephone lines for communication by persons with speech- or hearing- impairments.
Toll settlement ratio
The rate of return (before Federal income tax) on investment in intrastate toll service used in calculating the division of intrastate toll revenues among participating local exchange carriers.
Traffic sensitive (TS)
Facilities and expenses that are sensitive to use.
Wide are a telecommunications service (WATS)
A long distance service designed for customers with high call volumes over wide geographic areas. Rates are based on total usage rather than on a call-by-call basis as in message telecommunications service.
D. Utility Finance
AFC (or AFDC, or AFUDC)
Allowance for funds used during construction. An account for the interest expenses of CWIP which are added to actual construction costs to arrive at a total cost for facilities. AFC is accounted as earnings, but does not produce cash flow for a utility.
All income statement items of revenue and expense not included in determining utility net operating income. These kind of items are considered as shareholder related rather than customer related.
The amount (or percentage) of various components capital engaged in the utility; usually, long-term debt, preferred stock, common equity.
The utility's cash receipts minus disbursements over a specific time frame.
The share of the company's total assets owned by shareholders, the company's capital excluding the amount supported by long-term debt and preferred stock.
Construction work in progress (CWIP)
An account for capital expenditures on facilities not yet in service because they do not produce cash earnings. In recent years, the Commission has met the financial straits of some utilities by transferring some CWIP into rate base where it does produce cash earnings.
Cost of capital
The composite cost to the utility of interest on debt, dividends on preferred stock, and earnings requirements of common stockholders, as calculated by the actual or projected costs of each times the percentage each represents of the total capital structure.
Deferral and amortization
An accounting mechanism that permits expenses already incurred or to be incurred, to be recovered by a utility in a later time frame.
Deferred income taxes
The federal income tax effect of utility revenues and costs may be reported before or after such revenues and costs are included in rates. This accounting procedure essentially assigned tax effects to the same period as the revenues and costs are charged to ratepayers.
The effect of aging on the original cost of utility facilities, or the charge used to recover over time the capital originally invested in the facilities.
A measure, usually expressed in annual percentages, of the change in the value of money from one time period to another. Nominal discount rate includes anticipation price inflation; real discount rate does not.
Discounted cash flow (DCF)
A formula used generally by the Commission in arriving at an allowed return on equity. The formula is complex, but is boiled down to the addition of percentages of yield on common stock in a trading period near the time of a rate case decision and of the growth in dividends in recent years.
The distribution of earnings to shareholders, in either cash or additional stock; generally representing only a portion of the company's available earnings.
Shorthand for price elasticity of demand; a measurement of the responsiveness of demand for a good in response to a change of price.
The relationship of common equity to the total capitalization of a utility.
Generic financing case
A proceeding initiated by the Commission to develop financial objectives for the telecommunications, electric, gas, and water utility classes given the likely future business conditions of each class.
The additional cost of producing another unit; sometimes used as a more measurable proxy for marginal cost.
Investment tax credit
A credit against the Federal income tax liability for the capital cost of purchasing new equipment; granted by Congress in the 1970s to encourage investment.
The cost incurred in producing or the cost saved by not producing an additional unit of good.
This is an adjustment which reduces revenue requirements and reverses (or mirrors) the effect of allowing cash earnings on construction work in progress in past years (See CWIP
Net revenue or net margin
Revenues less related gas costs and revenue taxes as derived for individual rates or classes of service.
An adjustment to a utility's expenses or activities to restate the expense or activity to reflect a normal level.
A limit on the amount that can be placed in rate base by a utility obtaining assets from another utility; can include cost of assets obtained from a supplier that is not a utility, installation, i.e., labor costs. A utility paying more than original cost for such transferred assets cannot recover the excess amount from rate.
Other Post Retirement Benefits (OPEB's)
Various Employee Post- Employment Benefits (except pensions) primarily medical and insurance benefits. Employers, starting in l993, must accrue currently for the future costs of these benefits for current employees over their working years. Pre-l993 accounting rules allowed employees to record these costs on a pay-as- you-go basis rather than on an accrual basis.
The current value of money that will be spent or collected in the future; the determination of present value adjusts for the difference over time resulting from inflation and interest rates.
The base investment on which the utility is authorized to earn a cash return. It includes the original cost of facilities, minus depreciation, an allowance for working capital and other accounts.
Rate of return
The rate of earnings realized by a utility, calculated by dividing the net operating income from utility operations by the rate base.
The annual period for which rates are being set. In New York, it is generally the l2 calendar months immediately following a rate decision.
A delay in putting proposed new rates into effect, the result of suspension.
Setting rates on the basis of an adjustment, not provided for in advance, of a previously determined revenue requirement (i.e., substituting actual for forecast expenses). The practice is generally barred by law, but parties often dispute whether a particular action is retroactive ratemaking or whether, even if it is the case, it is barred by law.
Return on equity
The rate of earnings realized by a utility on its shareholders' assets, calculated by dividing the earnings available for dividends by the equity portion of the rate base.
A recent fully historic 12 month period preceding the date of the rate filing, used as a basis or starting point in establishing a utility's cost of providing service. The utility is required to detail all changes in its costs and operations from the historic test year to the forecast rate year.
Times coverage (n.nnX coverage)
Shorthand for the number of times that cash earnings available for interest payments exceed a year's interest expense. Originally, cash earnings at a specific multiple of a year's interest expense was required as a payment guarantee before a utility could issue additional bonds. Currently, the extent of interest coverage is a factor used by rating agencies in assessing the credit worthiness of a utility.
Uniform System of Accounts (USOA)
A financial accounting system issued by the Commission for each regulated industry (e.g., electric, gas, water and telephone), prescribing accounts to be used, together with specific instructions for use of individual accounts and general instructions as to the basis of accounting.
Funds required to pay for utility operations in the interim between delivery of utility service and collection of bills for that service. In ratemaking, the Commission calculates the amount of working capital by the "FPC formula" a specified percentage of a year's expenses. Working capital is a component of a utility's rate base.
Introduction into a water system of an excessive amount of water treatment chemicals; usually, an excess of caustic soda which is used to counteract acidity.
Contributions in aid of construction (CIAC)
Capital additions such as mains, pumps, etc. contributed to a water utility by a real estate developer. The water utility is not allowed to earn a return on such contributions.
An arrangement in which a developer advances funds to a water utility for the installation of facilities to serve the developer's property, subject to some refund when revenues from customers served by those facilities reach a predetermined level.
Hydrogen power (pH)
A measure of the relative acidity of water. A pH reading of 7.0 is in balance; a lower reading is acidic, higher is basic.
A Commission policy adopted on September 2l, l978, to the effect that the rates initially set for water service should reflect the true cost, including return on investment, of serving customers.
F. Consumer Services
Automated Meter Reading (AMR)
The retrieval of meter consumption data from a centralized location via a common communications channel (telephone lines, radio frequency, power lines, cable lines, etc.) or a combination of such. As an example, AMR would allow a water utility to obtain meter readings without having to send meter readers to individual meter locations. Instead, via the use of the telephone network, the meter could be "called" and interrogated regarding how much water was used. The data is then transferred back to the utility and used for billing purposes.
Community Action Program (CAP)
An outgrowth of LBJ Great Society Programs, a CAP is a county-wide programs such as Albany County Opportunities, a non-profit organization that helps people get out of poverty through such programs as Weatherization, Head Start, Free Furniture, Home Energy Assistance and Senior Transportation.
Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA)
An arrangement that permits a residential customer to pay overdue bills in installments.
Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA)
Protections for residential customers of electric, gas and steam utilities, contained in Article 2 of the Public Service Law and in Commission Rules (l6NYCRR Part 11).
Late payment charge (LPC)
A charge in addition to an overdue bill for utility service.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
A federally- funded program that provides low-income households with financial assistance to pay heating bills. The program is administered by the New York State Department of Social Services.
Model Utility Senior Program (MUSP)
A package of 20 low cost, no cost educational and service programs developed by the Department as a framework for utilities to offer to elderly and special needs consumers.
National Coalition for Consumer Education (NCCE)
A nationwide network of consumer education professionals. NCEE encourages the sharing of information and resources to support consumer education in schools, communities and work places. NCEE offices are in Chatham, NJ.
New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
A not-for-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy organization established, directed and supported by NYS college and university students. Staff lawyers, researchers, scientists and organizers work with students and other citizens developing citizenship skills and shaping public policy. Consumer protections, energy, environmental preservation, fiscal responsibility, political reforms and social justice are NYPIRG's principal areas of concern. NYPIRG is one of a nationwide group of organizations based on an idea by Ralph Nader.
New York Relay Service
A Statewide network, developed by the Consumer Services Division and operated by AT&T in cooperation with local telephone companies, which enables two-way communication anywhere in the State between deaf or speech-impaired individuals and the general public. Specially trained operators serve as interpreters, reading aloud to the unimpaired party from printed messages sent to them by the impaired party, and typing the text of the spoken response to the impaired party. The impaired caller uses a TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) consisting of a keyboard and screen or printer. The other party can use any phone. Either party can initiate the call.
New York State Elderly and Energy Network (NYSEEN)
An organization composed of representatives of government, energy suppliers, communities, and senior citizens formed to address the energy-related concerns of seniors in New York State. Members include the State Public Service Commission, State Energy Office, State Office for the Aging, and the major utility companies.
New York State Utility Consumer Affairs Professionals (NYSUCAP)
An organization of consumer affairs representatives from ll major utilities, including nine gas and electric companies and two telephone companies. NYSUCAP was formed in l984 as a vehicle to share information on common issues and programs.
Plain Language Annual Notification of Rights (PLANR)
A publication utilities are required to send each year to their customers. It summarizes, in non-technical terms and readable print, the customers' rights and responsibilities under the State Public Service Law.
Plain Language Termination Notice (PLTN)
An official notice sent to utility customers who face a shutoff of service for non-payment of utility bills. The plain language requirement specifies that the notice be in non-technical terms and readable print, and include a graphic symbol to assist customers who may have trouble reading the message. It must explain ways the shutoff can be prevented.
Plain Language Utility Bill (PLUB)
A utility service bill in non- technical terms and readable print which shows the amount due and the deadline for payment. Additionally, it includes consumer education material including an explanation of how the bill was calculated, and in some cases, a graphic diagram showing how the customer's usage compares with the company's customers in general.
Public Utility Law Project (PULP)
A resource and support center for legal services offices, community action programs and citizen groups.
Senior Citizen Task Force Program (SCTFP)
An umbrella program available through the Department to heighten awareness among elderly utility consumers of its special programs and services.
Telephone Fair Practices Act (TEFPA)
Commission Rules which provide protections as to applications for and terminations of residential telephone service.
Certification issued by a state that an activity for which a federal permit has been (or is to be) requested will meet applicable water quality standards as specified in Section 40l of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). Also frequently referred to as a "water quality certification."
A permit issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) established under Section 402 of the federal CWA. The New York program is identified as the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) and is recognized as meeting the requirements of Section 402. The State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment established under Article VIII was authorized to issue 402 for Article VIII facilities.
A party filing any notice of intention (NOI) or application seeking a certificate or permit.
A document filed pursuant to Article VII, VIII, or X of the Public Service Law supporting a request for a certificate or permit.
Installation of facilities (excluding gas compressors) which are merely auxiliary or appurtenance to a fuel gas transmission line.
Article VII of Public Service Law-Siting of Major Utility Transmission Facilities
A one-stop siting law.
Article VIII of Public Service Law
A one-stop siting law which provided for the siting of major steam electric generating facilities. This law expired on January 1, l989.
Article X of Public Service Law
A one-stop siting law which provides for the siting of major electric generating facilities. This law applies to generating facilities of 80 MW or more for which application is made after January 20, l993.
Installations and facilities which are auxiliary to an electric transmission line.
Automated Mapping/Facilities Management (AM/FM)
Computerized graphics system for the production (i.e., electric service areas) and facilities drawings (i.e., certified gas pipelines).
Best Available Control Technology for air pollutants
Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CEC&PN)
Certificate issued under Articles VII, VIII or X by the Commission.
Clean Air Act (CAA)
The Clean Air Act (CAA) was last amended on November l5, l990. Of eleven titles, Title I - Provisions for Attainment and Maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Title 3 - Hazardous Air Pollutants and Title 4 - Acid Deposition Control affect the electric utility industry by requiring reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and hazardous air pollutants. Numerous compliance deadlines are facing the utility industry which will necessitate both capital investments and operational changes.
Clean Water Act (CWA)
The law covering federal water pollution control activities. See also the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
Presentation by an applicant which describes how a facility, certified under Article VIII or X, will be constructed and operated.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
Corps permits must be obtained for construction of facilities in navigable waters, for dredging in navigable waters, or for construction or placement of fill in federally recognized wetlands.
A unit of noise measurement: the logarithmic function of sound energy. dBA)
A decibel measured using an A-weighting filter to mimic the response of the human ear.
Diameter at breast height (dbh)
Standard measure of tree size.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
This preliminary version of an EIS is required by SEQRA. It is the DEIS that is normally scrutinized in the public hearing process.
Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF)
Invisible force fields produced by devices which generate, deliver or use electricity.
ElectroStatic Precipitator (ESP)
A device that employs electrical charges to remove particles (soot) from stack emissions.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
An EIS is a comprehensive assessment required by SEQRA of existing environmental conditions and how the environment will be changed by proposed projects or new governmental policies. The EIS provides information to enable decision makers to make objective and informed decisions on issues with a potential to significantly affect the natural and human environment.
Environmental Management & Construction Plan (EM&CP)
A plan, subject to public review and Commission approval, for carrying out construction of an electric or gas facility in accordance with guidelines set by the Commission in issuing a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need.
Environmental Management and Construction Standards and Practices (EM&CS&P)
Regulations adopted by the Commission governing construction of gas pipelines of ten miles or less.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or USEPA)
The federal agency responsible for administering federal water supply, water pollution, air pollution, solid waste and hazardous waste control laws. These programs may be administered by state agencies if it is determined by EPA that the state law and program in any area is at least equivalent to the federal law and program.
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA)
The law covering federal water pollution control activities. Since the l977 amendments, it has become known as the Clean Water Act.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Federal agency responsible for the management of Federal Wildlife Refuges, Endangered Species Act, Migratory Wildlife.
Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD)
A device (scrubber) that removes sulfur from the stack emissions of power plants.
When a municipality proposes to extend its gas or electric system beyond its municipal borders, a franchise must be secured from the municipality in which the construction is to be made and a certificate of authority secured from the Commission.
Geographical Information System (GIS)
A computerized system for developing, managing, analyzing and displaying information that is portrayed on maps.
Detailed plans for meeting environmental or other requirements of a certificate, submitted as part of a compliance filing.
Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices
A measure of facility length based on map distance. Often used to designate location(s) along a proposed transmission facility. Replaced by survey distance (stations) during the construction phase.
An amendment of a Certificate which is not a revision.
National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has established numerical standards limiting the concentrations of air pollutants in the free atmosphere to which the public has access. Fossil fueled steam electric generating stations are a significant source of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and respirable particulates for which NAAQS exist. The electric utility industry spends a significant amount of capital resources to minimize its emissions of air pollutants regulated by the NAAQS.
U.S. National Park Service
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
New York Power Authority
New York Power Pool
Notice of intention (NOI)
A shortened application for certification of a gas pipeline as provided in the Public Service Law.
Operation and maintenance standards (O&MS)
Either general or detailed specifications used for quality assurance and control at facilities certified under Article VII.
Pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG)
A measure of pressure within a container (pipe) at a standard temperature and atmospheric pressure.
Prevention of significant deterioration of air quality (PSD)
The acronym PSD is broadly used to refer to a complex regulatory program designed to maintain and improve ambient air quality. The PSD concept embraces new source review programs, air pollution control technology assessments and cumulative air quality impacts from all affected sources.
Public Convenience and Necessity
An amendment to a certificate authorizing a change in the facility which would result in any material increase in any environmental impact of the facility or substantial change in the location of all or a portion of such facility other than as provided in any reasonable alternative location set forth in the NOI or application for the original certificate.
Termination of the rights granted in a certificate.
Pre-defined area occupied by electric or gas transmission facilities.
Selective catalytic reduction (SCR)
Refers to a nitrogen oxides emission control technology applicable to fossil fueled steam electric generating stations. The SCR technology involves the use of ammonia injected into combustion gases in the presence of catalysts to convert nitrogen oxides into water vapor and diatomic nitrogen. Utility systems in the northeast are considering SCR technology, which is costly and of unproven reliability, as a compliance option to achieve compliance with Clean Air Act requirements first effective in l995 and 2000 at different levels of stringency.
An area that is likely to be adversely affected by transmission facility construction, such as floodplains, wetlands, streams, water bodies, springs, wells, mature forests, rare, threatened and endangered species habitat; and officially designated scenic areas and officially designated historic and cultural resources.
Debris from land-clearing operations, generally tree parts and brush.
U.S. Soil Conservation Service (SCS)
Federal agency responsible for protecting and enhancing soil resources, primarily through the promotion of erosion control and soil protection practices on agricultural land.
State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)
SEQRA is a process to help government and the public protect and improve the environment. SEQRA requires that environmental factors be considered along with social and economic considerations in government decision making. The utility industry is often required to follow the dictates of the SEQRA in implementing its programs. Because the level of review is equivalent, Article VII, VIII and X projects are exempt from SEQRA.
State Historic Preservation Officer
State pollutant discharge elimination system (SPDES)
Temporary deprivation of some or all of the rights granted in a certificate.
Following are criteria for electric and natural gas transmission lines:
a transmission line (including associated equipment) of a design capacity of l25kV or more extending a distance of one mile or more, or of l00kV or more and less than l25kV extending a distance of l0 miles or more; any transmission line located wholly underground in a city with a population in excess of l25,000; or primary transmission line approved by the Federal Regulatory Commission in connection with a hydro-electric facility.
a gas transmission line extending a distance of 1,000 feet or more to be used to transport fuel gas at pressures of l25 psig or more, except: any transmission line located wholly underground in a city or wholly within the R/W of a State, County, or Town highway or village street as defined in Article I of the Highway Law or Article VI of the Village Law, respectively; or any such transmission line which replaces an existing transmission line (including any appurtenant facilities) and extends a distance of less than one mile.
Visually Significant Resource (VSR)
A location designated primarily or exclusively because of its exceptional, significant, or unique scenic quality pursuant to state or federal legislation and subject to specific Commission electric and telephone distribution facility regulations for new construction.
Keep back one or more of the requirements relating to the information required in a filing for a certificate.
H. Energy Conservation
Apartment Building Conservation Service (ABCS)
An energy survey for apartment buildings with five or more units provided for in the Home Insulation and Energy Conservation Act which requires the major gas and electric utilities to conduct free of charge.
Compact Fluorescent Lamp
A combined ballast and small fluorescent lamp designed to fit standard incandescent fixtures. There are many types of models, including combined ballast and lamp types which are disposed of when the lamp expires, and separate ballasts with replaceable lamps. Also referred to as screw-in, self-ballasted fluorescent lamps or CFLs.
Home Energy Conservation Survey
An energy analysis in a customer's home of the cause
Energy Service Company (ESCO)
A business entity which installs energy conservation and DSM measures in facilities, typically at no up-front cost, and receive payments based on measured savings from utilities, and in many cases from end users at those facilities. ESCOs agree to deliver long term (l0 years or more) savings to the utility and end users, and under take to maintain the savings over the period.
Home Energy Conservation Survey
An energy analysis in a customer's home of the cause and cure of excessive use of energy for heating or cooling. The name was changed to avoid an adverse implication in "audit."
Home Insulation and Energy Conservation Act (HIECA)
Established by New York State legislation, it requires utilities to provide owners or occupants of one-to-four family buildings with free home energy audits and to provide low-cost financing of cost- effective energy-saving measures. HIECA also requires free energy audits for residents of multiple dwellings.
The ratio of the estimated annual savings of a conservation measure to its estimated cost, expressed in years, used to determine whether a conservation measure is cost-effective.
I. Demand Side Planning
Cooperative Planning Process (DSM Cooperative Process)
A series of informal meetings at which utilities and interested parties in New York State discuss issues affecting DSM planning and operation, program design, delivery mechanisms and emerging technologies.
Demand Side Management (DSM)
The planning, implementation and monitoring of utility activities designed to help customers use electricity more efficiently and shift use from peak to off-peak periods.
Direct Load Control
DSM programs where the utility pays the customer to install a switch (typically radio operated) which allows the utility to control the customers' equipment (air conditioners, water heaters, pool pumps, etc.) as a way of reducing demand during peak periods.
A means of obtaining DSM resources by utilities by soliciting proposals from customers or third-party vendors to install DSM measures. Proposals submitted compete for contracts by being scored on a variety of price and non-price characteristics. All New York electric utilities have conducted DSM bidding.
DSM Incentive Reconciliation
An adjustment to estimated incentives to account for actual resource savings achieved by DSM programs. Many of the incentives are collected through the Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC) during the current year based on estimates of what the utility expects to achieve, and then reconciled the next year with what actually happened. The FAC is a rate mechanism designed originally to adjust for month- to-month changes in the cost of fuel per kilowatt hour in customers' bills.
Regulatory mechanisms established by the Commission to reward utilities for implementing cost-effective programs.
The environmental costs to society of electricity generation which are not reflected in the utility's cost of producing electricity or the price paid by customers to consume electricity. Environmental externalities are difficult to measure, but have been valued at 1.56 cents per kilowatt hour in New York State to calculate the environmental benefits of DSM energy savings.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC)
Generally refers to those used by large commercial/industrial customers.
The balancing of supply-side and demand-side alternatives to meet energy needs at least cost (often called Integrated Resource Planning).
Estimate of the level of energy likely to be needed in the future.
Utility activities designed to influence the timing and magnitude of customer use of electricity. Traditional load management objectives include peak clipping, valley filling and load shifting.
A form of load management that involves shifting from peak to off-peak periods. Examples are information programs that encourage customers to use storage water heating and storage space heating.
Net loss revenues
Gross revenue losses associated with selling less electricity as a result of DSM programs minus the production costs avoided by the reduced sales. New York utilities are allowed to recover net lost revenues under the current DSM incentive plans. Without incentives to reimburse a utility for net lost revenues, there would be a strong disincentive to DSM because a utility's earnings would be reduced due to DSM- related sales reductions.
Total energy savings resulting from implementing a demand-side program, such as gross change in energy usage minus savings attributable to free riders and/or a change in weather, demographics and consumer behavior.
Period of relatively low demand on a utility's generating system.
Period of relatively high system demand on a utility's generating system, season and time-of-day specific for each utility.
Program Evaluation Task Force (PETF)
A group of evaluation experts, employed by the major New York electric utilities, the New York Power Pool and the New York Power Authority, who meet on a quarterly basis with an advisory group of interested parties to discuss statewide evaluation issues pertaining to DSM programs and to administer joint-utility evaluation contracts.
Payments made to customers who install a specific option, either as original equipment or as a replacement for an existing device. Rebate levels are generally set in proportion to the relative benefits to the utility of having the customer install the option. Rebates are often provided for insulation and energy-efficient equipment (motors, water heaters, lamps and lighting systems, etc.).
An energy resource such as solar, wind, water (hydro), geothermal, biomass or the like, rather than non- renewable oil, gas, or coal, to produce electricity.
Time of Use (TOU) Pricing
The establishment of rates that vary by season or by time of day to reflect changes in a utility's cost of providing service.
Mandatory Time of Use (MTOU)
A time of use rate structure which is required, normally for large usage customers.
Voluntary Time of Use (VTOU)
A time of use rate structure which a customer can elect.
A form of load management that involves building off- peak loads. This may be desirable where the long-run incremental cost is less than the average price of electricity, since adding off peak load decreases the average price. One proposed method is to offer electric vehicle charging service off peak.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
A member of the staff of an autonomous Office of Administrative Hearings who conducts hearings, rules on motions, prepares a written recommended decision, and analyzes parties' exceptions in Commission proceedings.
Printed on blue paper, "Blue sheets" provide the Chairman, Commissioners and Division Directors advance notice of proposed items for upcoming Commission session agendas.
Burden of proof
The duty of a party advancing a proposition or issue to justify it.
Cost of Service
The cost to a utility to provide service to its customers. A utility's cost of service is defined as the sum of operating expenses, depreciation expenses, taxes, and a reasonable return on the net valuation of the property devoted to public service.
Distributed on a daily basis to Commissioners and staff, this publication provides a listing of all documents submitted to the Commission which requires formal action, such as petitions, formal complaints, and responses to Commission orders. Each week's Daily Record is then summarized in the first section of the Weekly Bulletin.
Economic Development Zone (EDZ)
An area within the State designated by the State Department of Economic Development using legislatively mandated criteria. Electric and gas utilities must provide discounted rates to eligible customers within those zones.
A written statement (brief) to the Commission by any party in a proceeding to express disagreement with a recommended decision. Replies to exceptions are statements objecting to an exception or supporting the recommendation.
Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)
The Freedom of Information Law reaffirms a person's right to know how our government operates. It provides rights of access to records reflective of governmental decisions and policies that affect the lives of every New Yorker. As a general matter, the Freedom of Information Law is based on a presumption of access. All records of an agency are available to the public, except to the extent that records or portions thereof fall within narrow grounds specified for denial in the Public Officers Law.
A request from a party in a Commission proceeding to another party for supplementary information or clarification.
A party other than a utility or Department staff participating in a proceeding of the Commission.
An explanation in the utility rate case filing of changes occurring or projected to occur in the period between the historic year and the rate year developments.
Multi-Year Rate Plans
A process for setting a specific utility's rates and revenue requirements for more than a single twelve month period. Usually negotiated during the suspension period of rate cases.
New York State Public Service Commission Reports (NY PSC)
The official report of opinions, orders, rules and regulations adopted by the Commission. Cited as __NY PSC__.
A seldom-used procedure in which all the Commission members hear presentations intended to emphasize, clarify or expand on unresolved issues in a proceeding.
The same session item will appear at a future Commission session either for further discussion or for additional information.
Petition for rehearing
A formal request by any party in a proceeding to the Commission to rehear or reconsider all or part of a decision.
A meeting of parties to a proceeding before an Administrative Law Judge to consider matters related to that proceeding.
Public Statement Hearing
A special hearing to take comments from members of the public, convened at one or more locations in the service territory of a utility seeking a major rate increase or for a Commission special proceeding on a policy matter or proposed rulemaking. Testimony given at such hearings do not constitute "evidence" on which a decision which must be made "on the record" can be based, but are included in the record.
Recommended Decision (RD)
A document prepared by an Administrative Law Judge reviewing, analyzing and recommending to the Commission resolution of each of the issues in a proceeding.
Returned for Resubmission
The session item will appear at a future Commission session in a somewhat different form (i.e., the effective date has been changed or the recommendation is to be amended).
Refers to the dissociation of revenues and earnings
Removes both the incentive to sell more to maintain earnings and the disincentive for conservation. Also, insulates utility earnings from shortfalls in sales.
Revenue Decoupling Mechanism (RDM)
Typically a multi-year ratemaking arrangement which sets rates each year based on three main features a revenue reconciliation, certain expense recovery rules (i.e., index factors) and incentives.
Show cause order
An order of the Commission (or a court) requiring a party to show to the satisfaction of the Commission or court why a certain action should not be taken.
State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA)
The law, effective on September 1, l976, prescribes the minimum rulemaking requirements which agencies must follow in order to adopt a rule. Commission determinations which fall under the provisions of SAPA include: major rate increases, rate proceedings, non-major rate and tariff changes, approval of transfer of assets, approval of security issuances, approval of securities acquisition, non-utility use of revenues, approval of dissolutions, approval of accounting methods, technical accounting releases, etc. Forty-five days must elapse between publication in the State Register before action can be taken by the Commission. SAPA does provide that an agency can adopt and file a rule on an emergency basis if the emergency procedure is necessary to preserve the public's health, safety or general welfare and if compliance with prior notice requirements would be contrary to the public interest.
The deferral by the Commission or voluntarily by the utility of the effective date of any tariff filing, generally 30 days after the date of filing. In a rate case, the Commission may initially suspend the effective date for l20 days with a further suspension of six months if hearings cannot be completed within the initial suspension period.
A compilation of a utility's rates and rules governing its relations with customers; changes are subject to review and approval by the Commission.
Any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one's business, and which provides an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it. Information given Trade Secret status is excepted from disclosure and processed and handled separately from the normal procedure. The standard for such finding is outlined in the Commission's rules, and the finding is generally made in the first instance by the Department's records access officer. The exception is when a party seeks such protection within the context of an administrative proceeding. In such cases, the request and arguments are made to the presiding officer in the proceeding.
Volume l6 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (l6NYCRR)
The official compilation of regulations adopted by the Commission.
A bulletin published every Tuesday, which provides a listing of petitions, applications and tariff filings received, and determinations made, by the Public Service Commission.
The session item will be sent back to the author because a decision was made to drop the matter or it has to go back to the "drawing board" for further consideration.
Printed on yellow paper, "Yellow sheets" accompany proposed Commission session items. They contain a thumbnail description of the subject matter of the corresponding item.
The unit of measurement of electric current, proportionate to the number of electrons flowing through a conductor per second. It is analogous to a measure of the number of cubic feet of water flowing through a pipe per second.
The amount fixed for a certain commodity used as a measure, i.e., 42 gallons in the case of petroleum.
British thermal unit (BTU)
asic measurement of energy. One Btu is required to increase the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
Ccf, Mcf, MMcf
Multipliers of cubic feet, from the roman numerals: C for l00, M for 1,000, and MM for million or thousand thousand.
Cubic foot (cf)
The most common unit of measurement of gas volume. It is the amount of gas required to fill a volume of one cubic foot under stated conditions of temperature, pressure, and water vapor. One cubic foot of pipeline quality gas contains approximately 1,000 Btus.
Ten therms or 1 million Btu. One decatherm is equal approximately 1,000 cubic feet (Mcf). (See therm).
A unit measuring the extent to which the daily outdoor average temperature falls below an assumed base, normally 65 F for heating. One degree-day is counted for each degree falling below (for heating) the assumed base for each calendar day.
Extra high voltage (EHV)
Generally any voltage of 345,000 volts or higher. Ultra-high voltage (UHV) is voltage in excess of 800,000 volts.
Basic measurement of quantity of water.
Prefixes used in electric measurements for thousand, million and billion (abbreviated to kV, mV, kW, mW, kWh, mWh, gWh) volts or watts.
The basic unit of electric energy equal to one Kilowatt of power supplied to an electric circuit steadily for one hour (equivalent to about 3,450 Btu).
Abbreviation for one thousand cubic feet.
One trillion Btu's or equivalent to a Bcf (million Mcf). In gas, MM is used to denote million, while M is million in the electric area.
TG, MG, BG
Multipliers of gallons, using English thousand, million and billion.
Basic measurement of heat content of natural gas. One therm equals l00,000 Btu, the heat content of just under l00 cubic feet.
The unit of electromotive force, analogous to water pressure in pounds per square inch. One volt, if applied to a circuit having a resistance of one ohm, will produce a current of one ampere.
The electrical unit of power or rate of doing work: one ampere flowing under a pressure of one volt. It is analogous to horsepower of mechanical energy; about 746 watts equals one horsepower.
L. Utility Efficiency & Productivity
An annual fiscal year plan, prepared by the Office of Utility Efficiency & Productivity (OUE&P), which evaluates the status of each of its ongoing audits and which identifies future audits that optimize the availability, skills, and geographic location of OUE&P staff during the upcoming two- year period. The audit plan is reviewed and approved by the Chairman.
An information meeting for consultants who will submit proposals for management audits. The meeting is intended to clarify for the consultants the purpose and scope of the proposed audit, provide information about the utility, and answer questions about Department procedures and expectations. It is conducted by OUE&P staff with assistance and participation by the utility.
A memo to the Commissioners and Directors requesting subject areas which merit examination in the next management audit. The memo also requests that Directors assign a staff liaison for the duration of the study and identify any studies which have been done or will be done by that Office/Division on the utility to be audited.
An audit of all the major functional areas within a utility.
Construction Program Planning (CPP)
Mandated in the Public Service Law, requiring such a review in management audits. The review includes the preliminary steps of forecasting, planning and budgeting, plus the project management, cost control, and post completion reviews that provide feedback on the success of each of these components and "lessons learned" for use in future construction projects.
A maintained data base containing an extensive listing of consultants or firms interested in receiving requests for proposals for comprehensive and focused management audits of electric, gas, telephone and water utilities.
A multi-step process which consists of: proposal evaluation, consultant interviews, further evaluations, selection of the winning consultant, development of session item for Commission approval and Commission approval of recommended consultant to do an audit.
Proposed changes to a utility's operations that were jointly identified by the utility and Staff as part of a participative audit. These proposed changes are aimed at improving the productivity, effectiveness, safety, reliability, and/or responsiveness of a utility's operations (See Recommendations).
The sequence of activities that determines when a project will be completed. Critical path scheduling is the determination of the relative significance of each event and the proper sequence for its completion.
The phase of an operational audit during which staff gathers information through a wide variety of means including, but not limited to: interviews, document reviews, and field observations.
Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA)
In 1986, the Commission directed staff to include a review of the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs in the management audits of major electric, gas and telephone utilities. These studies are intended to supplement and not duplicate the compliance audits performed by Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program.
Field Crew Operations and Support Audit Program
A continuing program to comprehensively evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the utilities' usage, oversight, and control over their labor forces and the associated materials and equipment needed to support the labor forces.
A method of gathering information during an operational audit in which staff monitors the actual practices of a utility and/or its contractors, and compares these practices against established procedures. Field observations can be either announced or unannounced and, whenever practicable, unobserved by utility employees.
The document which communicates the findings, conclusions, and recommendations that were made during the course of an audit. The audit report is presented to the Commission and the utility to take appropriate action.
A consultant's proposal which has been selected from the full field of proposals received, based upon staff evaluation, for the purpose of in-depth, face-to-face interviews.
Five-year program cycle
A requirement of the Public Service Law that establishes the frequency (at least once every five years) that a management audit must be performed.
An audit of one or several narrowly defined study areas.
Fuel Procurement Audit Program
A continuing program to comprehensively evaluate utility coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear fuel purchasing practices.
A program designed to monitor the utility's action plans in response to audit recommendations. The utility submits action plans developed to improve the company's overall management and operations. Staff reviews the action plans submitted, monitors the utility's progress, and periodically reports to the Commission on the status of the utility's implementation efforts.
A formal document, issued by staff throughout the course of an operational audit, which requests the utility to supply specific documents or answer specific questions.
A preliminary report issued to the utility being audited that communicates staff's preliminary findings. The utility uses the interim report to perform a self-assessment of its operations. The results from the interim report and the utility's self-assessment are reported to the Commission in the final audit report.
The procedure for a branch of a utility to audit the performance of its operations, management or finances.
A method of gathering information during an audit in which staff asks specific questions of utility representatives or other parties.
The initial letter which notifies a utility that its operations will be audited.
The initial meeting between staff and the utility. At a kickoff meeting, the utility generally provides an overview of its operations and staff discusses the approach that will be used to perform the audit.
A process for reviewing a completed project, what was learned, and using that knowledge for similar future projects.
A review of a utility's management and operations to identify opportunities for reducing costs and improving the quality of service to its customers.
Audit teams comprised of individuals having diverse skills and expertise (i.e., accountants, engineers, economists). The diverse expertise of these teams allows staff to fully evaluate each facet of a utility function.
Office of Utility Efficiency & Productivity (OUE&P)
Office which performs operational audits and management audits.
A comprehensive field-oriented review of a utility's activities which identifies opportunities to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, cost, safety, reliability, or quality of service provided to the customers.
An interactive method of performing audits which enlists the aid of the utility in evaluating operations, and the development of recommendations and corrective actions.
Procurement Audit Program
A continuing program which evaluates utility practices for purchasing equipment, goods and services.
A measure of performance by a utility's workforce.
A review and evaluation performed by staff of the consultant proposals received in response to a request for proposal. A formal scoring system results in the ranking of all proposals and the selection of the proposals for finalist interviews.
Rate case reporting
In 1986, Public Service Law was amended to require the Commission to review implementation progress of the most recently completed management audit for major rate cases and to incorporate the findings of its review. Management Audit analysts provide testimony in the rate case updating the status of the utility's implementation efforts.
Proposed changes to a utility's operations which staff requests that the Commission order the utility to implement. These proposed changes were identified by staff during the course of an audit and aimed at improving the productivity, effectiveness, safety, reliability, and/or responsiveness of a utility's operations (See Corrective actions).
Request for Proposal (RFP)
A letter issued by the Commission seeking consultant proposals to perform a management audit. The letter includes audit scope and objectives, guidelines of how to conduct the audit, and general information (i.e., dates on the bidders meeting, when proposals are due, and start up of audit).
The specific aspects of a utility's operation(s) examined during the course of an audit.
A participative method of performing audits which enlists the aid of the utility in evaluating its own operations and in developing appropriate corrective actions.
Special Audit Program
Audits performed which focus on specific areas where the Chairman, Commission, or other agency staff identify a need for field-oriented audits of key issues which are not conducted under other audit programs.
Limited audits which are performed by management audit staff based on available resources, expertise, workload, or other factors.
A senior level group, typically the utility CEO, the consultant's partner-in-charge, and several DPS directors, whose primary purpose is to maintain senior level involvement during the audit. This group provides perspective, emphasis, and, if necessary, dispute resolution during the audit.
The Guide (The Guide For Consultants Performing Management & Operations Audits)
The document that provides guidelines describing the manner in which management and operations audits are to be conducted by consultants. This document offers guidelines on: audit process, conflicts of interest and ethical conduct, RFP, proposal design and content, consultant selection process, responsibilities of the parties, audit report, and testimony in Commission proceedings.
Three party contract
A contractual agreement among the three parties (DPS, Utility, and Consultant) of a management audit outlining the obligations of the parties. The contract discusses areas such as: contract administration, compensation, cost control and limitation, reports, disputes, ownership and use of reports, and compliance with law.
Three party meetings
Meetings held during a management audit among the parties (DPS, the utility, and the consultant) to discuss the progress of an audit. Staff participates to give guidance and direction to the meeting.
Utility Management Audit Section
Utility Operational Audit Section
A report prepared by staff which communicates those aspects that should be fundamental to a specific function of a utility. Utilities then use these white papers as the basis for performing a self assessment of the functional area and for developing appropriate corrective actions.
Work management (Workforce Management)
A management tool that provides the framework and mechanisms for establishing and maintaining efficient and effective management of workload and labor resources. Elements include: work definition,
A document which describes the approach that will be used to perform an audit. The workplan can include, but is not limited to: a description of the audit scope; staff assignments; specific operations that will be examined; time tables and milestones; and anticipated audit methodology.
A ball-shaped device with a channel through it, which is designed to stop the flow of steam through a reactor cooling system. Its assembly includes an actuator
a mechanical- hydraulic device that opens and closes the ball valve. Ball valves were initially installed in Nine Mile II (though not in any other US boiling water reactor) but failed leak and operating tests and were replaced by Y-pattern globe valves.
Boiling water reactor
A reactor design (used at Nine Mile II) in which water surrounding the nuclear fuel is heated to produce steam that flows in a direct loop connected to the turbine- generator.
The formal addition of a generating unit to the power supply system.
A structure of steel and concrete, with inner and outer shells, that surrounds a nuclear power plant to prevent or limit the release of radioactive materials into the air.
A limit ordered by the Commission setting maximum recoverable cost of a plant.
One of five utilities that share ownership of the Nine Mile II nuclear facility: Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 41%, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation and Long Island Lighting Company, 18% each; Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, l4%; and Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, 9%.
Large diameter open-ended vertical steel pipes designed to carry an accidental release of radioactive steam to a large cooling pool of water under the reactor, thereby reducing the risk of release of radioactivity to the air.
An unforeseen and unforeseeable event, beyond management's control, and having a major effect on the provision of safe and reliable service.
The process of placing enriched uranium fuel loads into a reactor.
Main Steam Isolation Valve (MSIV)
A major safety control valve designed to close quickly and prevent the flow or leakage of steam from the reactor in an accident.
Y-Pattern Globe Valve
A valve of the design used for MISVs in boiling water reactor plants.