Learn to Speak our Language

What are they saying anyway?

The energy industry has a language that is all their own. Here you can learn what some of the more common terms are, what their synonyms are, and what different abbreviations are as well. This is an ongoing and growing list, so be sure to check back if you don’t find what you are looking for the first time.

Account Number
A number created to be used for billing purposes for each site. Each number is unique and is associated with the bill payee.
Accounting Period
The month that data is process through the company’s accounting system.
Actual Usage Cost ($/MWh)
Usage cost is calculated from Usage MWh divided by Usage Charge. This cost represents your average cost for energy consumed. This number is comparable to Pool Price, in that Pool Price represents a flat load profile cost.
The mailing address of the payee.
Administration Charge
A monthly charge levied to recover a Wire Service Providers and/or retailers and/or billing agents costs for customer service, billing, communication and in some cases, other charges related to management of the energy supply portfolio such as risk, pool trading charges, etc.
Alberta Department of Energy.
ATCO Electric Limited.
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
Alberta Electric System Operator – A statutory corporation governed by an independent Board of Directors appointed by the Alberta Minister of Energy, whose major functions are to:
Operate the power pool in a manner that promotes the fair, efficient and openly competitive exchange of electric energy in Alberta; Determine the order of dispatch of electric energy and ancillary services in Alberta; Carry out financial settlement for all electric energy exchanged through the power pool at the pool price; Provide system access to the transmission system and to prepare a tariff or transmission services; Manage and recover the costs of transmission line losses and for the provision of ancillary services; Direct the safe, reliable and economic operation of the interconnected electric system; Assess current and future needs of market participants and plan the capability of the transmission system; Make arrangements for expansion and enhancement of the transmission system to meet those needs; and to Regulate and administer load settlement.
Alberta Energy and Utilities Board – a regulatory body with the responsibility to oversee the economic, orderly and efficient development and operation, in the public interest, of hydro energy and the generation and transmission of electric energy in Alberta.
Affiliated Power Producer
A company that generates power and is affiliated with a utility.
Alberta Federation of Rural Electrification Associations – Provides a voice for Rural Electrification Association (REA) members.
A collection of particulars into a whole mass or sum; total; combined.
Alberta Government Services – responsible for the Fair Trading Act and the direct marketing of electricity and natural gas, administers a variety of consumer protections statutes and programs.
Alberta Interconnected Electrical System.
Allocatd Losses
Energy losses are usually allocated to customer groups based on allocations determined from distribution loss studies


Alternating Current (AC)
A current that flows alternately in one direction and then in the reverse direction. In North America, the standard for alternating current is 60 complete cycles each second. Such electricity is said to have a frequency of 60 hertz. Alternating current is used in power systems because it can be transmitted and distributed more economically than direct current.
Unit of electric current that is equivalent to the steady current produced by one volt applied across a resistance of one ohm.
Ancillary Services
See Operating Reserves.
Alberta Rural Utility Association – The goal of the ARUA is to work together with combined efforts to ensure the government receives a clear message from rural Alberta regarding common issues that affect our utilities and other matters affecting rural utility systems and their consumers. ARUA is an alliance of the Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops Ltd., theAlberta Federation of Rural Electrification Associations, Alberta Federation of Rural Water Co-operatives Ltd.,Gas Alberta Inc., Prairie Power Ltd., the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties. Collectively, these organizations represent approximately 500,000 rural Albertans.
A measure of the maximum energy flow possible in one direction across an intertie.
The Alberta Utilities Commission(AUC) is a quasi-judicial independent agency established by the Government of Alberta, responsible to ensure that the delivery of Alberta’s utility service takes place in a manner that is fair, responsible and in the public interest. The AUC regulates investor-owned natural gas, electric, and water utilities and certain municipally owned electric utilities to ensure that customers receive safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates. The staff of the AUC also responds to customer inquiries and complaints respecting utility matters. In addition, the AUC ensures that electric facilities are built, operated, and decommissioned in an efficient and environmentally responsible way and provides regulatory oversight of issues related to the development and operation of the wholesale electricity market in Alberta as well as the retail gas and electricity markets in the province.
Average Load
Average load is the average daily consumption rate.
Average Published Pool Price ($/MWh)
Hourly energy prices posted by the AESO.

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Balancing Pool
The Balancing Pool plays a prominent role in managing the Power Purchase Arrangements of several major power plants. Primary roles: To manage the financial accounts arising from the transition to a competitive generation market on behalf of electricity consumers, and To meet any obligations and responsibilities associated with both sold and unsold Power Purchase Arrangements (PPAs).
Base Energy Charge Difference
The difference between the total load from the Power Pool and the total load from the LSA.
Base Load
The minimum continuous load over a given period of time. Base load generating stations operate essentially at full output whenever possible.
Base Price ($/MWh)
The contracted price of the first hedge (7×24) used as a base when combined with another hedge to create minimum exposure to the market.
Breaker Change Notification (exclusive to ATCO).
British Colombia Transmission Corporation is the provincial Crown Corporation that plans, builds, operates and maintains British Columbia’s publicly-owned electrical transmission system. The Minister for the Crown holds 100 percent of the shares of the Corporation, as required by the Transmission Corporation Act of May 29, 2003. BCTC was created in 2003 to ensure fair and open access to the transmission system and is responsible for; (1) planning for system upgrades and ensuring that BC has a reliable electricity supply for the future, (2) building new infrastructure including circuits and substations to ensure that the system expands to meet BC’s growing needs, (3) ensuring the transmission of electricity through wires and transmission facilities from our state-of-the-art control centre, and (4) keeping electrical equipment safe and reliable, managing trees and vegetation and developing innovative solutions to extend the life of transmission assets.
Bilateral Transactions
An electric energy supply arrangement, the terms of which, including price, are negotiated between an energy retailer and a consumer.
Bill End Date
Production period end date. The standard Date format has been defined as: YYYYMMDDHHMISS.
Bill Start Date
Production period start date. The standard Date format has been defined as: YYYYMMDDHHMISS.
Billed Demand
The greater of metered demand for current billing period, a peak demand set in a previous month or the contract minimum demand.
Binding Day-Ahead Market
A market in which title to the electric energy transfers from the seller to the buyer one day prior to physical deliver and the transaction is binding on both parties.
Block Price ($/MWh)
The contracted price of the second hedge (7×16) used additionally with a base hedge to create minimum exposure to the market.
British Thermal Unit (Btu)
A unit of heat. The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Budgeted usage (kWh)
Site ID specific consumption estimate, can be set by Retailer/Customer.
Bulk Electricity
Large amounts of electric power at transmission voltages, generally to run industrial plants and operations.
Bundling Electricity
Combining the costs of generation, transmission and distribution and other services into a single rate charged to the retail customer.
Business Day
A business day is any day other than Saturday or a holiday as defined in the Interpretation Act.
Business Function ID
DE – Default Retailer; LR – Supplier of Last Resort; RE – Competitive Retailer; RR – Regulated Rate Option Retailer; SR – Self Retailer.

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Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy & Environment CABREE is a non partisan, independent research centre located in the University of Alberta School of Business; dedicated to providing applied economic analysis to inform public policy debates on issues of vital importance to Alberta. Their activities complement and support the Natural Resources Energy and Environment MBA specialization and research efforts by CABREE are focus on; energy markets, electricity restructuring and climate change issues. Within each area they explore policy driven issues and will highlight the linkages between energy and the environment.
The maximum sustainable amount of electric energy that can be carried or delivered at any instant; measured in Watts. A term that can be applied to a transmission system or to a piece of equipment such as a generating unit, electric service or appliance.
Capacity Factor
For any equipment, the ratio of the average load during a defined time period to the rated capacity.
Carbon Footprint
The total amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) produced within a specific time period. Greenhouse gases are considered the primary cause of climate change.
Canadian Electricity Association. Canadian Electricity Association
Code of Conduct Regulation
The Regulation governing the relationship between a Wire Owner and its affiliated retailer and the release and exchange of customer information. The Code seeks to ensure that: retailers and consumers have equal access to regulated services; that the Wire Owner protects the confidentiality of consumers information; that Retailers have equal access to information disclosed by Wire Owners; and that consumers are dealt with fairly.
The simultaneous production of thermal (steam) and electric energy; the electric energy used for industrial plant use and/or sale and the heat for buildings and industrial processes.
Congestion occurs when the transmission system cannot accommodate all transactions that would normally occur among consumer based on merit order dispatch due to physical or engineering limitations. The physical limitations are determined by the physical capacities of the transmission components. The engineering limitations are expressed through the application of accepted reliability operating criteria.
Consumer Utilities Advocate
Alberta’s Office of the Utilities Consumer Advocate established to help monitor and protect the interests of Alberta ‘s residential, farm and small business consumers of electricity and natural gas as we all adjust to the changes arising from Alberta ‘s restructured energy marketplace. The primary goals of the UCA are:
To help consumers help themselves;
To inform and empower them in Alberta ‘s restructured energy markets; and
To facilitate their representation at regulatory hearings and other proceedings.
The consumption has four components: 1. LSA consumption (metered, profiled and estimated consumption) 2. Loss consumption 3. WSP consumption (adjustments to match WSI) 4. UFE consumption Charges are calculated for each component for a site using the hourly pool price. This process is repeated for each hour in the billing month for a site. The RISS charges are compared to the Pool statement. Any differences are allocated back to the sites based on consumption. Charges for GST, Spot Trading, Uplift and Rebate are allocated back to the sites based on consumption.
Consumption (kWh) Status
Describes the type of Meter Reading.
Contact Name
An individual’s name that may be contacted regarding the account.
Contract Adjustment
A contract adjustment is the net amount of the Energy Contract and of the sale back of any unused energy from the Energy Contract at the hourly pool price.
Contract Unit of Measure (UOM)
Contract unit of measure, could be: DOLR – Dollar, kW – Kilowatt, kWH – Kilowatt hour.
Conventional Generation
Electricity that is produced at a generating station where the prime movers are driven by gases or steam produced by burning fossil fuels.
Cumulative Switch Estimate.
The flow of electricity in a conductor. Current is measured in amperes.
Current Balance
The cost for supplying the capacity (demand) and electrical energy(consumption) for the billing period.
Current Demand
Metered demand for current billing period.
Current Meter Dial Reading
The current dial reading taken from the meter.
Current Reading Datetime
Date and time of the current reading. The standard Date format has been defined as: YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.
Customer Choice
The ability of a consumer to choose a retailer and switch from one retailer to another.

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Daily Consumption Meter (DCM)
Daily cumulative meter consumption to Retailers and Settlement.
Daily Interval Meter Readings (DIM)
Daily Interval Meter Readings to Retailers and Settlement.
Daily Load Chart
Load is a general term referring to size and represents average consumption rate (units are MW). Daily average load is calculated by total daily consumption divided by 24 hour period. The Daily Load chart shows what your consumption trend has been over the past couple of months. The peak/min trend lines mark out the band of variability of the load on a daily basis.
Daily Load Factor Chart
Load factor is the ratio of average load divided by max load. Load factor represents how consistently close to full load equipment is being operated at. A load factor that falls under 75% mean a large site has dropped in load that day.
Daylight Savings Time
Times refer to times on the prevailing clock, standard or daylight time depending on the season. Clock adjustments for daylight savings follow the standard used by the Pool. Specifically, at the time of the springtime change, the hour ending 2AM does not exist. Hour ending 3AM follows hour ending 1AM. At the time of the fall time change, hour ending 2AM occurs twice, with the second denoted by an asterisk (*). For transactions using this convention, an “Hour Ending” field will exist that contains an asterisk following the hour 02 value (i.e. 02*).
Direct Connect.
Daily Cumulative Meter (DCM) load represent smaller sites that have cumulative meters (less than 500 kW). Cumulative meters do not have time of use measurement. Hourly profile is calculated during the load settlement process. See Benchmark Report for profile classes.
De-Energize Completion.
De-energized Site
A connected site that is not currently consuming power.
De-Energize Failure.
Default Supply Customers
Default electricity supply is provided to any customer who has not signed a competitive contract and who consumes more than 250,000 kWh of electric energy at that site each year.
Default Supply Rates
The default supply rate is primarily based on the electricity pool price. The pool price is the actual market price of electricity that varies from hour to hour depending on weather, time of day and demand for electricity. Learn more: EPCOR: Default Supply Prices. DIRECT: Contract Terms. ENMAX: Q & A information.
Electricity Pricing Strategy : Base and Peak Hedging Block Plan

Block hedging plans offers a fixed price for an established volume of electricity for a specific period of time.

An established fixed price for specific blocks of energy.
Elimination of market exposure for specific blocks of energy.
Reduction of your company’s overall exposure to the volatility of the energy market.
More accurate forecasting of energy costs on a month-to-month basis.

Electricity Pricing Strategy: Load Following Hedging Plan

Load following plans offer a fixed price for monthly contracted amounts as well as a threshold tolerance for the duration of your agreement.

A fixed price for established monthly energy amounts.
Accurate forecasting of energy costs on a month-to-month basis.
Protection from market price fluctuations and volatility.
Simple bill reconciliation.
Volume flexibility whereby your monthly consumption may vary within established threshold bands and still receive the contracted price.

Delta Usage (kWh)
Budget usage – Actual usage (“0” if no budget value provided).
The rate of consumption over time to reach maximum load.
Demand (kVA) Status
Describes the type of Meter Reading.
Demand (kVAh) Status
Describes the type of Meter Reading.
Demand (kVAr)Status
Describes the type of Meter Reading.
Demand (kVArh) Status
Describes the type of Meter Reading.
Demand (kW) Status
Describes the type of Meter Reading.
Demand Charge
The component of a two-part price for electricity that is based on a customer’s highest power demand reached in a specified period, usually a month, regardless of the quantity of energy used e.g., $2.00 per kilowatt per month). The other component of the two-part price is the energy charge.
Demand Sales
A producer agrees to make generating capacity available to a buyer when it is called upon or ‘demanded’.
De-Energize Request.
The province of Ontario began deregulation of electricity supply in 2002, but pulled back temporarily due to voter and consumer backlash at the resulting price volatility. The government is still searching for a stable working regulatory framework. See: Ontario electricity policy

Natural gas is deregulated in most of the country, with the exception of some Atlantic provinces and some pockets like Vancouver Island. Most of this deregulation happened in the mid 1980s.

The current status is a partially regulated structure in which consumers received a capped price for a portion of the publicly owned generation. The remainder of the price is market price based and there are numerous competitive energy contract providers. There is price comparison service operating in these jurisdictions.

The province of Alberta has deregulated their electricity provision. Customers are free to choose which company they sign up with, but there are few companies to choose from. The price of electricity has increased substantially for consumers. Higher prices are in part due to the market being too small to attract major competitors to enter it and a tight generation supply condition which is heavily influenced by unplanned generation outages.

Distribution Facility Owner.
Distribution Connected Generator, means a generating unit that is interconnected with an electric distribution system.
A differencing settlement system is one that calculates settlement only for those customers who choose a new supplier.
Daily Interval Meter Readings sent every 15 minutes to Retailers and Settlement.
Direct Current
(DC) Current that flows continuously in the same direction (as opposed to alternating current). The current supplied from a battery is direct current.
A direction from the AESO to a pool participant to cause, permit or alter the exchange of electric energy or ancillary services.
Distributed Generation
A generating unit that is interconnected with an electric energy distribution system.
Distribution (Electric Distribution System


The plant, works equipment, systems and services necessary to distribute electric energy in a service area at a voltage of 25,000 volts or less.
Distribution Access Service
The service required to transport electric energy by means of an electric distribution system to customers or from distributed generation to the interconnected electric system.
Deposit Reserve Account (also referred to as a Deposit Account or Deposit Reserve) Funds generally used for capital system upgrades and improvements.
De-Select Notification.
Distribution System Operator. A contractor authorized by the wire owner of an electric distribution system to perform certain operating and maintenance functions on behalf of the Wires Owner.
De-Select Request. This is a transaction that is sent by the retailer to the LSA to notify of a site that is going to be de-enrolled.
Distribution Tariff. The rates and the terms and conditions that a distribution facility owner charges for providing service to its customers.

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Electric Grid
Also known as the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (AIES), the electric grid is a network of power
generators, high-voltage transmission lines and lower voltage distribution lines. The transmission system carries
electricity from generating plants to large industrial customers and distribution systems that deliver power to cities, towns and rural areas across the province.
Megawatt Hour (MWh)
A megawatt is equal to 1,000 kilowatts. A megawatt hour measures the amount of electricity a generator produces in one hour.
Electricity produced by small-scale generators connected to the grid that produce one megawatt (MW) or less of
electricity. In Alberta, micro-generators must use renewable energy sources.
Kilowatt Hour (kWh)
Power is measured in watts, with one kilowatt (kW) equal to 1,000 watts. Imagine 10 lamps lit with 100 watt bulbs for one hour. At the end of the hour, they will have used one kilowatt hour of electricity. Electricity retailers typically bill households in kilowatt hours.
Peak Demand
Peak demand indicates the maximum amount of electricity consumed during a specific period of time. Peak demand for electricity in the summer typically occurs on the hottest day of the year.
Renewable Energy
Energy obtained from natural resources that can be replenished or renewed. Examples include biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar and wind.