Glossary Of Terms

As you are learning about the switch to consumer choice in the electric industry, these key terms and definitions will help you understand the information you may see and hear from buying groups, energy suppliers, electric distribution companies, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and others. More terms and definitions are available on the Public Utilities Commission website.

Aggregation: See Buying Group.

Buying Group: A group of customers who join together to buy electric energy in order to receive lower rates or to support a cause. The buying group does the shopping for its members and makes their buying decision for them. May also be referred to as an aggregator or a cooperative.

Co-op or Cooperative: A member-owned and democratically operated nonprofit organization, such as the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, that exists to serve its membership with goods and services at reasonable prices. Some electric buying groups (or aggregators) may be cooperative organizations.

Default Power Service: Electric power supply for Co-op members who do not choose a competitive energy supplier. Also, a safety net service designed to provide energy for short periods of time. Default power service will always be available to ensure that consumers receive uninterrupted power when they switch from one energy supplier to another, if for any reason they are temporarily without an energy supplier or, in some cases, if they choose not to choose an energy supplier. In these circumstances, customers receive default power service automatically.

Disclosure: The provision of information to customers by energy suppliers on their prices, terms of service, power sources and air emissions.

Distribution: The process of delivering electricity from the electric distribution system to a consumer’s home or business.

Electric Distribution Company: A company regulated by the PUC that owns the poles and wires used to deliver power to a consumer. This company will remain responsible for the actual delivery of electricity to homes and businesses and for repairs when the power goes out. This is the same company that used to provide all your electric service.

Energy Conservation: Reducing the amount of energy used, for example, through the use of energy-efficient lighting and appliances, turning off lights and appliances when not in use and using insulation and weather stripping. May also be referred to as energy efficiency.

Energy Suppliers: Companies that sell energy to consumers in a competitive market. They may generate the power themselves or re-sell the power generated by someone else. May also be referred to as competitive energy suppliers, energy service providers, generation companies, power marketers and power brokers.

Generation: The process of making electricity. May also refer to energy supply.

Generation Company: A company that owns and/or operates and maintains power generation plants. May also be referred to as a power company.

Green Power: Environmental impacts from power plants differ greatly depending on how the electricity is produced and what pollution controls are used during production. Green power refers to electricity produced in ways that are generally considered to have less harmful environmental impacts. For more information, call the Department of Environmental Services at 1-603-271-3503.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh): A basic unit for measuring energy. Typically, the amount you pay for energy is based on the number of kilowatt-hours you use per month.

Public Utilities Commission (PUC): The state agency responsible for regulating public utilities in New Hampshire. The PUC will continue to regulate electric distribution companies and will also have limited regulation over energy suppliers to ensure consumer protection and the safety and reliability of service.

Systems Benefits Charge: A charge on a consumer’s bill from an electric distribution company to pay for the costs of certain public benefits such as low-income assistance and energy efficiency.

Transition Service: When consumer choice begins, consumers who do not immediately select an energy supplier will receive transition service. Transition service, which will be available for a limited time, is designed to allow consumers to become familiar with the competitive energy market before selecting an energy supplier.

Transmission: The process of delivering electricity from generation plants to the electric distribution system over high voltage power lines.

Unbundling: The separation of electric service into its components: generation, transmission and distribution. These components will be listed as line items on your electric bill. If you receive two separate bills, one for the generation and one for the delivery of your electricity, you will still see these items listed separately.