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Energy Regulation in Virginia

Fact Sheets: Glossary of Terms

Aggregation
The process of pooling together a number of customers and then purchasing energy supply on behalf of the whole group.

Aggregator
A person or organization licensed by the State Corporation Commission that matches groups of consumers with a competitive service provider supplying electricity or natural gas. Aggregators may be able to negotiate a better price than each consumer could get on an individual basis.

Competitive Energy Service
The provision of aggregation service or electricity supply service and/or natural gas supply service to retail customers by a competitive service provider.

Competitive Service Provider
A person or company licensed by the State Corporation Commission to sell competitive energy services (aggregation, electricity supply, or natural gas supply) in Virginia.

Default Service
The energy supplier who will provide electric and/or natural gas supply service to customers who are unable to shop for a Competitive Service Provider, choose not to shop, or sign up with a Competitive Service Provider who at some point fails to perform.

Demand-Side Management
Demand-side management refers to actions taken by energy consumers to reduce the amount of energy consumption or shift energy use from peak load periods, or heavy usage times, to off-peak periods.

Distribution
The delivery of electricity or natural gas directly to a home or business. A local distribution company, regulated by the State Corporation Commission, is responsible for maintaining the equipment to distribute the energy as well as delivering it to consumers. Consumers do not have a choice of local distribution company.

Electricity Supply Service
The generation and transmission of electricity. This service may be purchased from a competitive service provider. This is the service for which you can shop, and the price may vary depending on which supplier you choose.

Energy Efficiency
The implementation of measures to reduce energy usage in a home, business or public building.

Generation/Supply
The production of electricity at a power plant fueled by various raw energy sources (nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, etc.). The source of natural gas is the well head.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)
A 1,000-watt unit of electricity for one hour. A typical Virginia home may use approximately 1,000 kWh in a month.

Local Distribution Company
The public utility regulated by the State Corporation Commission that owns, maintains, and operates the distribution lines, pipes, and other equipment necessary to deliver electricity or natural gas directly to a home or business. Consumers do not have a choice of local distribution company.

Monthly Energy Usage
The amount of energy a household or business uses per month, expressed in kWh for electricity and in Therms or Ccf for natural gas. Your energy bill may show your monthly energy usage for up to the past 12 months.

Natural Gas Supply Service
The procurement and transportation of natural gas. This service may be purchased from a competitive service provider. This is the service for which you can shop, and the price may vary depending on which supplier you choose.

Price to Compare
For electricity, the regulated rate or price per energy unit of electricity supply service (kWh). For natural gas, the price to compare is the local distribution company's charge for supply service (Therm or Ccf). The price to compare is provided to consumers so that they can effectively compare the local distribution company's regulated rate to offers from competitive service providers.

Renewable Energy
Electricity supplied in whole or in part from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, hydropower, and various forms of biomass (wood and landfill methane).

Retail Access
The opportunity for a retail customer in Virginia to purchase a competitive energy service from a licensed competitive service provider.

State Corporation Commission
The Virginia state government entity that oversees the state's utilities.

Therm/Ccf
Therm is a measurement of the heat content of natural gas. Ccf stands for 100 cubic feet, which is a measurement of the quantity of natural gas. A Therm and a Ccf are approximately the same. A typical Virginia home that is heated with natural gas may use 75 Ccf in a month.

Transmission
The movement of bulk energy supply (electricity or natural gas) from the generation facility (power plant or well head) to the local distribution company.