Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

This glossary is provided as a general informational guide. The definitions in the glossary have been drawn from many sources and are meant to promote universal understanding.

Items on your electric bill are explained here.

Blackout: A temporary loss of electricity in an area because of failure of generation or transmission equipment.

Brown-out: A voltage reduction during an electrical shortage that causes conditions such as dim lights.

Capacity: The load for which a generating unit, generating station, or other electrical apparatus is rated by the user or the manufacturer.

Demand: The rate at which electric energy is delivered to a system. The primary source of demand is the power-consuming equipment of the customers.

Demand Meter: A meter that determines the rate at which electric energy is delivered to a system.

Electric and Magnetic Fields: There are 2 kinds of fields associated with 60 Hz power created by electric charges. Electric fields result from their strength of the charge and magnetic fields result from the motion of the charge. Taken together they are often referred to as electromagnetic fields. There are electric and magnetic fields wherever there is electric power.

Energy Management System (EMS): Through a master station comprised of the equipment and computer software, the EMS will provide monitoring and control of complete system status, such as electric load, voltage levels and interruptions of service. It will also provide information for sales or purchase transaction evaluations, efficient generation scheduling and generation-to-load matching.

Generator: A machine which transforms mechanical energy into electric energy.

Ground: A conducting body (the earth or object connected to the earth) whose potential is zero and to which an electric circuit can be connected.

Insulator: A nonconductor, usually of glass or porcelain, for insulating and supporting electric wires.

Kilowatt (KW): A unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt-hour (KWH): Unit of electrical energy equal to one kilowatt acting for one hour.

Load: The amount of electric power delivered or required at any specified point on a system. Load originates at the power-consuming equipment of the customers.

Load Factor: The ratio of the average load in kilowatts supplied during a designated period to the peak load in kilowatts occurring in that period.

Load-Shedding: Curtailment of electrical service to pre-selected customers or areas when available power is insufficient to meet the total system demand.

Megawatt (MW): 1,000 kilowatts or 1,000,000 watts.

Megawatt-hour (MWH): 1,000 kilowatt-hours.

Meter: Device that measures the amount of electricity use.

Peak Demand: The maximum rate at which electric energy is delivered to or by a system during a specific period of time.

Power: The energy for doing work. The time rate of generating, transferring or using electric energy, usually expressed in kilowatts.

Power Grid: A network of generation, transmission and distribution systems that are interconnected.

Rural Electric Cooperative: Independent, locally owned business enterprise, incorporated under the laws of the state in which it operates. Consumers who get service are members of the co-op and share responsibility for its success or failure along with the benefits they receive.

Substation: An assemblage of equipment that enables switching and/or changing or regulating the voltage electricity.

Transformer: A device to change the voltage of alternating-current electricity.

Transmission System: The system that transports electric energy in bulk form, usually in high-voltage, from a source of supply to the distribution systems or other major parts of the electric system.

Volt: The force when steadily applied to a circuit having a resistance of one ohm, will produce a current of one ampere.

Watt: The electrical unit of power or the rate of doing work. The rate of energy transfer equivalent to one ampere flowing under a pressure of one volt at unity power factor. One horsepower is equivalent to approximately 746 watts.

Watt-hour Meter: Instrument used to measure and record kilowatt-hour consumption. (see “Meter”)

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