Some key energy terms for your back pocket.

There’s a lot of keywords you might see and hear floating around, and we’ve conveniently put them all right here.

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  • Average Price: The total price of electricity that includes everything that goes into your cost for electricity, including charges and fees, and is averaged out over a set usage level—most commonly 2,000 kWh per month.

  • Billing Cycle: The specific period, usually a month, during which energy consumption is measured for billing purposes.

  • Carbon Footprint: The total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions for which an individual or organization is responsible, often expressed annually.

  • Climate Change: Long-term alterations in temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric patterns, largely influenced by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.

  • Contract Rate: A fixed, price that you get and agree upon when you sign up, which remains the exact same throughout the duration of your contract. Not unlike most things you purchase—groceries, vehicles, clothes, etc.—when you see a price, agree on it, and purchase the item.

  • Deregulated Market: An energy market where competition is allowed among providers, often giving consumers the choice of where to purchase their electricity or gas.

  • Electricity Facts Label (EFL): A document provided by electric companies detailing rates, contract terms, and the sources of electricity generation.

  • Electric Service Identifier (ESID or ESI ID): A unique number assigned to a specific location (like a home or business) to track electricity usage.

  • Energy Charge Rate: The set, fixed price per kilowatt-hour that is locked in by your electricity provider for the duration of your contract and excludes TDU charges or any additional fees that your company may have.

  • ERCOT: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is responsible for managing the electric grid and market operations for most of the state.

  • Fixed Rate: An electricity pricing structure where the rate per kWh remains constant for a specified contract length.

  • HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems that regulate indoor temperatures and air quality.

  • Kilowatt (kW): A measure of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts, representing the rate of energy consumption or production.

  • Kilowatt-hour (kWh): A unit of energy equivalent to consuming 1 kilowatt of power for one hour, commonly used in electricity billing.

  • Off-peak: Times when energy demand is lower, often during late nights or early mornings.

  • On-peak: Times of high energy demand, typically during early evenings.

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT): The regulatory body overseeing electric and telecommunications utilities in Texas.

  • Renewable Energy Certificate (REC): A certificate representing proof that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from a renewable energy resource.

  • Retail Electric Provider (REP): A company that sells electricity to consumers in deregulated markets.

  • Solar Energy: Power derived from the sun's rays, usually captured using photovoltaic cells or solar panels.

  • Solar Buyback: A program where utilities or other entities purchase excess solar energy generated by consumers.

  • Solar Buyback Credit Rate: The rate at which a utility or service provider reimburses a solar customer for excess electricity generated from their solar panel system; this energy is then fed back into the power grid for future consumers’ use.

  • Smart Meter: An advanced meter that records electricity consumption in intervals and communicates this information to the utility for monitoring and billing.

  • TDU Delivery Charge: Spelled out as the Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU), this is the fee for the poles and wires that get the energy from the grid to your home and no matter your electricity provider. (Also meaning this price is out of the control of your electricity provider.)

  • Time-Of-Use (TOU) Rate: An electricity pricing structure that varies based on the time of day, encouraging consumption during off-peak hours.

  • Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP): Entities responsible for maintaining and operating the infrastructure that transmits and distributes electricity to consumers.

  • Utility: A company or entity that provides essential services, such as electricity, water, or gas, to consumers.

  • Variable Rate: An electricity pricing structure where the rate can fluctuate based on market conditions or other factors.

  • Wind Energy: Power derived from the kinetic energy of wind, typically harnessed using wind turbines.

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