Glossary of Terms
Electricity Industry Terms
Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) - Also known as a compact fluorescent light, a CFL uses less power and has a longer rated life than incandescent lamps.
Demand Side Management - A term for the electricity industry's efforts to reduce total demand for electricity, as well as shift demand from peak periods to other times of the day, thereby reducing the need for new power plants and transmission lines and reducing the size of integrated electricity systems.
Distribution - The delivery of electricity to homes and businesses within local areas using relatively low-voltage power lines. Distributors carry electricity from substations to distribution transformers, which further reduce or step down the voltage for supply to local customers.
Distributed Generation - Distributed energy generation, (also known as micro-generation) is smaller scale power generation, typically between 3 kW to 10,000 kW, which makes use of locally produced power generation technologies such as solar photo-voltaic systems, micro wind turbines and combined cycle natural gas turbines as alternatives to large-scale conventional coal-fired plants.
EasyMax® - Launched in 2005 by ENMAX Energy, the EasyMax® program offers residential and small business customers competitive electricity rates, without complex contracts or cancellation penalties.*
* You can choose any retailer listed at www.ucahelps.gov.ab.ca or call the UCA at 310-4822. Electricity delivery to your home or business isn't affected by your choice of retailer.
Electrical Load - The power demand on an electrical circuit.
Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) - Electromagnetic fields are invisible lines of force surrounding any wire or device that uses electricity. They are created whenever electricity flows through a wire eg. overhead power lines, electric appliances, or electrical cords or wiring. Because these fields are found wherever there is electricity, we are continually exposed to them.
Electric fields are produced by voltage, which can best be compared to the pressure of water in a pipe. They are measured in kilovolts per meter (kV/m). There are electric fields whenever voltage is present. Electric fields are present whenever an appliance is plugged in, even if it is turned off. The higher the voltage, the higher the electric fields.
Magnetic fields are produced by electrical current, which is comparable to the quantity of water flowing through a pipe, and are measured in microtesla (uT) or milligauss (mG). They are only present when power is flowing through a wire – such as when an appliance is turned on. The more current flowing through a wire, the higher the magnetic field.
While electric fields are easily shielded or weakened by conducting objects (ie; trees, buildings, and human skin), magnetic fields are not. However, both electric and magnetic fields weaken with increasing distance from the source.
Energy Efficiency - Using less energy to achieve the equivalent amount of energy service.
The ENERGY STAR® Initiative in Canada - An internationally recognized symbol and standard for identifying products delivering premium energy efficiency without compromising performance.
Formula-Based Regulation (FBR) - An electricity rate-setting mechanism that provides incentives for achieving higher levels of efficiency and productivity, to a certain threshold, through lower customer prices. ENMAX Power was the first electric utility to introduce an application and receive approval to implement FBR in Alberta.
Generation - The production of electricity at generating stations or via distributed generation using fossil fuels, hydro, wind, solar, or other resources (e.g. biomass, plasma arc technology).
Gigajoule (GJ) - A gigajoule is equivalent to one billion joules and is a term used in the energy industry, particularly when referring to the heating potential and/or volume of natural gas.
Gigawatt (GW) - A gigawatt is equivalent to one billion watts.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) - HVAC is an industry acronym describing heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, all which involve mechanical systems promoting comfortable indoor air quality.
Megawatt (MW) - One megawatt is equivalent to one million watts and is a measurement used by the utility industry to evaluate the productive capacity of electrical generators. (One watt is equal to one joule of energy per second.)
Megawatt Hour (MWh) - A megawatt hour is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts of electricity used continuously for a one-hour period.
ISO Standard - The International Organization for Standardization is a non-governmental organization, which is the world's largest developer and publisher of international standards.
Kilovolt Transmission Lines - Transmission lines designed to carry high voltage electricity. A kilovolt is equivalent to one thousand volts of electricity.
Kilowatt (kW) - A kilowatt is equivalent to one thousand watts.
Kilowatt Hours (kWh) - A kilowatt hour is equivalent to one thousand watt hours of electricity and is the most commonly used billing unit by utilities who deliver electricity to consumers.
Micro-Generation - See Distributed Generation.
Micro-Wind Turbines - Micro-wind turbines are small scale turbines that convert wind energy into electricity in DC (direct current) form. An inverter is used to transform DC output into AC (alternating current) form for regular residential and commercial use.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) - A group of chemical compounds formerly used as coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment. Production of equipment with these chemicals was banned in the early 1980s as they were found to bioaccumulate and are toxic in high concentrations.
Power Dispatched - Power transported from a generating station to its intended destination.
Power Purchase Arrangements (PPAs) - Long-term contract-like instruments under which the rights to the output from some large generating units in Alberta were transferred from the plant owner to another party that purchased that right, such as ENMAX, in return for a formula-based revenue stream. ENMAX obtains most of the electricity we sell to customers through the Keephills and Battle River PPAs.
Peaking Facility - A power generation facility designed to supplement generation capacity during periods of high electrical demand.
Run-of-River - Run-of-river uses the natural flow of a river to produce electricity and has no large scale dam or reservoir.
Solar Hot Water - Solar thermal technology which converts solar energy into heated water that can be used for domestic use or space heating.
Solar Photo-Voltaic Panels System - Solar Photo-voltaic (PV) panels are panels that convert the sun’s energy into electricity. There are different types of PV panels, differentiated largely by the manufacturing process, materials used and end function.
System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) - SAIFI is the average number of power service interruptions greater than or equal to one minute that a customer experiences over the course of a year.
System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) - SAIDI is the average duration of a power service interruption that a customer experiences over the course of a year.
Tonne - A unit of mass equivalent to 1,000 kilograms.
Transmission - The transfer of electricity from generating stations to substations in local areas using large, high-voltage power lines.