The Energy Glossary

The energy industry has plenty of terminology that can be confusing for consumers. If you come across an energy term or phrase in the market or on your bill that you're unfamiliar with, this energy glossary will help.

Account. The unique number assigned to your account and determined by your service address. You will need this number to pay your bill.

Advanced Meter Charge. A charge applied to cover expenses related to advanced metering systems.

Air Pollution. Gas, particles and mists pushed into the atmosphere by car exhaust and other actions taken by humans.

Average Billing Plan Balance. Applicable for customers who participate in average billing plans. The average billing plan balance shows the difference between the amount billed and the expense of the real usage.

Balance Forward. This is the amount you still owe from previous bills.

Base Charge. Charges assigned each cycle regardless of your energy usage.

Billed Deposit. A deposit that may be required when a new service begins or when there has been a gap in payment. This money is not a down payment on future bills.

Billing Address. The address where you will receive your bill.

Billing Cycle. The period for which you will be billed. The billing cycle will include a start date and end date for each cycle.

Bill Date. The date your meter was read. This date will also mark the conclusion of the billing cycle.

Biodiesel. A transportation fuel derived from the burning of natural materials like oil and fats.

Biomass. Energy that comes from the burning of organic matter like wood, algae, agricultural waste and other living-cell material.

Connection Fee. A one-time fee you will be charged to connect electric service to the address. This is usually included on your first bill.

Current Bill. This represents the amount due for electrical usage in the most recent billing cycle. It may also include fees or penalties for late payments on previous bills.

Current Meter Read. The most current reading taken from your meter, which is used to set the price on the current bill.

Deferred Payment Plan Balance. The amount you owe from previous bills that will be billed incrementally.

Deregulation. The elimination of regulation from a previously regulated industry in order to foster open competition.

Disconnect or Reconnect Fee. The fee you will pay to have your service disconnected or reconnected if you have not paid your energy bill. This fee will not be waived.

Due Date. The date payment of your bill is due.

Energy Charge. The charges assigned to you based on your energy usage.

Fossil Fuels. Non-renewable resources that provide energy when they are burned. Fossil fuels include coal and natural gas.

Geothermal Energy. Energy derived from the earth's natural heat, which is used to make electric power or industrial steam.

Gigawatt. A unit of energy measurement representing 1,000 megawatts or 1 million kilowatts.

Green Living. Using energy from renewable resources like solar, wind and geothermal instead of fossil fuels.

Hurricane Cost Recovery Factor. An applied fee, in applicable areas, used to recover costs associated with hurricanes.

Hydropower. Energy that is harnessed through the natural power, movement or evaporation of water. Hydropower, also known simply as hydro, is a renewable energy source.

Interest or Interested Applied. The amount of interest accrued on your initial deposit. The interest rate is approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the money is credited back to you at the start of each year.

kW. Short for kilowatt, equaling 1,000 watts. A kilowatt is the standard unit for measuring electricity.

Kilowatt-hours Used. Your monthly energy usage, calculated by taking the current meter reading and subtracting the meter reading of the previous month.

kWh. A unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (kW) of power expended for one hour of time.

Late-Payment Penalty. This is the amount you still owe from previous bills.

Meter. The number assigned to the personalized meter associated with your account. This meter measures your energy usage.

Metering Charge. Charges enabling the TDU to recover costs associated with metering your energy consumption.

Natural Gas. Hydrocarbon gas composed of butane, ethane, methane, propane and other gases, found in the earth. Natural gas is a fossil fuel.

Nuclear Energy. Energy obtained by splitting heavy atoms or connecting light atoms and using a controlled atomic chain reaction to generate heat.

Petrochemicals. A title assigned to chemicals created with oil.

Previous Bills or Charges. The amount owed and/or paid on the previous bill. If there is any unpaid balance it will be listed here.

Previous Meter Read. The reading from your meter during the previous billing cycle.

Rate. The rate you pay per KWh based on your plan.

Renewable Energy Sources. Energy sources such as wind, solar and water that are renewable and capable of generating clean energy with minimal environmental impact.

Sales Tax. A listing of applicable taxes included with your bill.

Solar Energy. Energy harnessed by collecting the heat and light provided by the sun.

Statement Date. This is the date the bill was generated. The bill reflects usage habits up to the bill date.

System Benefit Fund. Energy harnessed by collecting the heat and light provided by the sun.

TDU. Otherwise known as a Transmission and Distribution Utility, a TDU is responsible for transmitting electricity to its location.

TDU Delivery Charges. Costs assessed for the transmission of electricity through poles, wires and facilities. This may also include other incidental charges.

TCRF. Standing for Transmission Cost Recovery Factor, this charge is used to cover expenses and alterations to the existing transmission system.

Total Amount Due. The amount the customer owes the energy provider. This amount will be a culmination of all existing usage fees as well as previous balances or supplemental fees.

Wind Energy. Energy that is harnessed through windmills when they are turned by the wind. Wind energy is a renewable energy source.

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