Utilities 101 Glossary

  • Agile: Ability to respond quickly and easily, a method of project management characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.
  • Bottleneck: Restrictions or limiting factors that do not allow the system to perform as intended or required (i.e. smaller than required distribution line).
  • Building Automation System (BAS): a system that controls various electric, electronic and mechanical systems throughout a building.
  • Capacity: The maximum output level a system is designed to produce.
  • Chilled Water: Water produced in cooling plants at ~42°F and distributed underground to facilities in order to cool and dehumidify. Chilled water is returned to the plants at 52°F+ to continue the cycle.
  • Condensate: High-pressure steam condenses into hot water, or condensate, after it has been used for heating purposes. This byproduct is returned to the heating plants for re-use and contains valuable chemicals, heat content, and water.  
  • Commodity: an economic good or resources that has full or substantial fungibility. Energy commodities include electricity, fuels, and water. 
  • DDC: Direct Digital Controls that perform the entirety of Building Automation Controls. It improves efficiency, improves control effectiveness and increases energy efficiency.
  • Critical: A variable that has reached a sufficiently high or low value such that it changes the nature of the discussion.
  • High Pressure Steam: Water heated to 350°F+ and 125-175psi in heating plants, distributed underground to facilities, and used to for heating, research, and process needs. 
  • Infrastructure: In utilities, the basic physical systems, including distribution pipes, high voltage cables, sewers, vaults, and plants.
  • Load: The total utility needs at a given time for the campus. Often used interchangeably with demand or peak.
  • Makeup Water: to water that is added to plant processes to compensate for losses.
  • N+1 Redundancy: form of resilience ensuring system availability in the event of component failure. There exists N components and one independent backup (+1). This can also be referred to as active-passive resilience.
  • Plant: A facility that houses heating and/or cooling equipment and auxiliary systems.
  • Resiliency: The ability to withstand life events that impact a company's production and service capabilities. Redundant systems and back up plans help make organizations more resilient.
  • Reliability: Ability to meet the mission of providing utility and energy services in the quantity and quality demanded by end-users. 
  • Sanitary Sewer: Piping system that delivers contaminated water to the wastewater treatment plants.
  • Storm Sewer: Piping system that delivers rain run-off to surface waters. (rivers, etc)
  • Substation: Outdoor facility where electricity is delivered by the utility company, stepped down to a lower voltage, and distributed to campus through various underground circuits.
  • Transformer: a passive component that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another circuit, or multiple circuits

Utilities Finance 101 Glossary

 

  • Alternate Fuels: UK can use Coal and #2 Fuel Oil in its boilers under the EPA Title V Permit
  • Basis: is the price differential the NYMEX and the local cost of gas, transportation costs, and transactional costs)
  • Capital Expense: Also known as Capital Expenditure, is the money an organization spends to buy, maintain, or improve fixed assets. In Energy Management the purchase or upgrade of Boilers, Chillers, Plants, and Substations are examples of Capital Expenses
  • City Gate:  Location where local distribution company takes possession of Natural Gas Futures Contract to be delivered to the customer’s service location
  • Commodity:  An economic good or resources that has full or substantial fungibility. Energy commodities include electricity, fuels, and water. 
  • Costs: Amount to be paid or spent to obtain a good or service.
  • Dekatherm: Unit of energy used primarily to measure natural gas. One Dekatherm (Dth) is equal to one million BTUs.
  • Delivery Costs:  Associated cost, expenses and charges incurred by a company in connection with the delivery of goods or services to the customer.
  • Distribution: The process of making a product or service available for the consumer or customer who needs it. 
  • Futures: An agreement traded on an organized exchange to buy or sell assets, especially commodities or shares, at a fixed price but to be delivered and paid for later.
  • Hedge:  An investment that is made with the intention of reducing the risk of adverse price movements in an asset.
  • Henry Hub: Physical location in the Gulf Coast where several major pipelines interconnect is the delivery point for the Natural Gas futures Contracts (NYMEX).
  • Local Distribution Company (LDC):  A  distribution company that maintains the portion of the utility supply grid that is closest to the consumer.
  • MCF: thousand cubic feet.
  • NYMEX: New York Mercantile Exchange.
  • Overhead Rate: Total of indirect costs for a specific reporting period, divided by an allocation measure.
  • Public Service Commission (PSC): A governing body that regulates the rates and services of a public utility.
  • Recharge Rate: A charge for goods or services provided by your unit to other internal users of that good or service.
  • Regulated Utility: A public utility with respect to whose rates a state regulatory authority has rate making authority.
  • Spot Market: A public financial market in which financial instruments or commodities are traded for immediate delivery. 
  • Transportation: Financing mechanism that treats the transportation system like a utility in which customers pay fees based on the use of a transportation system. How a commodity or product reaches the customer.
  • Unregulated Utility: Unregulated utility subsidiaries are authorized to engage in competitive value-added services. Business is not required to be licensed under one or other of the regulatory laws.