Glossary of Terms


2WC ​WPTF WECC Committee



​Ancillary Services; the services provided by generators to a grid balancing authority that assure reliable operations.  In organized electricity markets, these services are procured based on generator bids and settled at market prices.
​ACR ​Assigned Commissioner Ruling; typically a noteworthy set of instructions from the 5th floor of the Cappuccino.  Sort of like a Papal Bull.
ALJ ​Administrative Law Judge; a person who has successfully found a niche at the Cappuccino where no one can bug 'em. ALJs write PDs and DDs.
​ATC ​Available Transfer Capability; what the transmission operator claims is the net amount of carrying capacity available for merchant use after all other priority uses are satisfied.



BAL-002 ​A WECC standard that will probably kick in to effect in 2009 that changes the way reserves are determined for each hour.  Currently reserves can be based on either total load, or total supply, however BAL-002 seeks to alter the calculation to make it a mix of the two.
​BOT ​Build-Own-Transfer; a type of contract arrangement whereby the IPP develops and constructs the generating unit, and then transfers the asset to the utility in lieu of a long-term PPA.
BPM ​Business Practice Manuals; a compendium of 13 documents that the CAISO makes available to explain the different elements referred to in the CAISO Tariff.



​CAISO ​California Independent System Operator; the apologist for the California grid whatever the problem may be.
CARB ​California Air Resources Board; the primary state agency responsible for implementing AB32 on GHG regulations and purports to take advice on matters concerning GHG regulation for the electricity and natural gas sectors from the CPUC.
​CCA ​Community Choice Aggregation; a form of Direct Access whereby a locality (city, geographic area) can aggregate its load and receive its power from sources other than the local IOU.
CCM ​Central Capacity Market; a form of capacity markets that throw all generation and all demand for such into one big pot, and determine a future (e.g. three years ahead) market-clearing price for generation assets.
​CDM ​Clean Development Mechanism Projects;  are certified to reduce GHG emissions in EU non-Annex 1 countries. (Projects must both  incrementally reduce GHG (a concept called "additionality") and benefit the local,host country,community by contributing to sustainable development there.)
CEC ​California Energy Commission
​CER ​Certified Emissions Reduction; certificates created from CDM projects that may be surrendered for part of a country's reduction obligation.
CFTC ​Commodity Futures Trading Commission
​CHPC ​Clean Hydrogen Power Generation; wish-upon-wish may it convert coal into hydrogen to burn and make electricity cleanly … just a drawing-board concept at present.
COD ​Commercial Operating Date; the month/year a new generating asset is proposed to be available and integrated with the electric grid.
CONE ​Cost of New Entry; either the overnight capital cost, or annual carrying charge to build a new generating unit expressed as $/kW, or $/kW-year,month,day (take your pick), respectively.
CPUC ​Shorthand for Cappuccino, or, the California Public Utilities Commission.  A constitutional agency of the state that talks about holding down customer rates, encouraging competition, and re-instituting customer choice.



DA ​Refers to either of two things: Day-Ahead as in Day-Ahead market, or Direct Access that is the retail customers served by ESPs rather than the local utility.
DR ​Demand Response; upon explicit instruction from the local control-area operator, an electricity customer that is capable of doing so shuts off either appliances or processes for a limited time.



EPSA ​Electric Power Supply Association; WPTF's national lobbying arm in Washington, D.C.
​ERCOT ​Electric Reliability Council of Texas; the organized market for Texas that doesn't cross its state boundaries, and, therefore, is not subject to FERC jurisdiction.
ERU ​Emission Reduction Units; analogous to CERs and created from JI projects that may be surrendered against  a country's reduction obligation.
ESP ​Energy Service Provider; a competitive entity sanctioned by the state, also foolish enough to sell retail, but, in addition, competes at a disadvantage on a tilted playing field in favor of the IOUs.
​EU ETS ​European Union Emission Trading Scheme. Kyoto specifies cap-and-trade at a country level. The EU implemented cap-and-trade within the EU to allow the industrial and utility sectors to similarly achieve reductions by buying offsets from other sources of reduction.
EUA ​European Emission Allowance; The unit of trade in the EU ETS measured in tonne-equivalent of CO2.
EVOO ​Extra Virgin Olive Oil; an important ingredient for all recipes



FCM ​Forward Capacity Market; a central-capacity-market framework used at ISO-NE.
FERC ​Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Once was Camelot, but more on that another time. Struggles keeping its orders from being remanded by both the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supremem Court.
FTR/CRR ​Firm Transmission Right/Congestion Revenue Right; a tradable certificate that gives the owner of the right from point-A to point-B the congestion revenue collected for all transactions that cross that designated path over the time period of one year.



gba ​shorthand for Goombah
​GHG ​Greenhouse Gas; the crap in the air you inhale, and supposedly promotes global warming.  It occurs in California, but since I live in Nevada, it ain't a problem.
​GIPR ​Generation Interconnection Process Reform; the CAISO's efforts to manage the queue of generating projects (about 80,000 MW) that have requested interconnection service to the grid.  Kind of explains why the RPS goal is so tenuous. One Burrito reader Googled GIPR and found it to also mean Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide Receptors, so, yeah, it's that too.





​IBAA ​Integrated Balancing Authority Areas; a twisted CAISO plot that attempts to submarine any potential gaming within a neighboring balancing authority that is geographically nested within the CAISO footprint. A hotly contested item, to be sure.
​ICE ​Intercontinental Exchange; a private member-based trading platform that allows for automatic clearing of standard transactions between parties … very valuable in the West where there has been no forward market since the untimely death of the CalPX.
​IEPR ​The Integrated Energy Policy Report; developed by the CEC, by statute, every other year to the Governor and the Legislature.  No one in the Governor's office or the Legislature reads it or understands it, but they want it.
​IFM ​Integrated Forward Market; the engine for determining day-ahead electricity commodity prices, quantities, marginal losses, and congestion at each node on the grid.
​IOU ​Someone to whom you owe money.  And now that I think about it, it fits.  All the time. Also means Investor Owned Utility, such as SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E
IPP ​Independent Power Producer.  Sometimes referred to as a merchant generator.
ISO-NE ​Independent System Operator of New England; a multi-state RTO in New England


​JI ​Joint Implementation; a project investment similar to CDM but from one Annex 1 country to another Annex 1 country that reduces GHG.




LAP ​Load Aggregation Point; a mathematical average of the load nodes in a well-defined geographic area.
LD ​Liquidated Damages; a type of WSPP provision that "firms" the power transaction under its Schedule C contract.
LGIP ​Large Generator Interconnection Process; the currently unworkable method by which electric generators seek interconnection service to the CAISO grid.
​LMP ​Locational Marginal Price; a magical dollar amount that has three time-dependent elements: the value of the energy commodity at a specified point on the grid (node), the cost of congestion, and the value of energy losses to yet another magical  point on the grid.  If you understand that, then you are officially an energy geek.
LSE ​Load Serving Entity; any business or government agency trying to make money selling retail power.
LTPP ​Long-Term Procurement Plan; which is sort of a plan, but then again, it's more a series of rules and assigned responsibilities.  Possibly one of the more important continuous cases before the Cappuccino.


​MISO ​Midwest Independent System Operator; organized market for approximately utility grids in 17 different midwestern states.
MMU ​Market Monitoring Unit; the group at every ISO or RTO that oversees the rules governing the potential abuse of market power in all transactions
MOWD ​Must-Offer Waiver Denial; what a California generator under the CAISO tariff must seek to not operate a unit; a lingering tribute from the energy crisis in response to accusations that generators shut down their units to manipulate prices. Hence, generators must always be available (e.g., must offer, not including maintenance outages), but if the owner wants to do otherwise it submits to the CAISO a waiver that if accepted then okay, it doesn't have to be available for the day.  Otherwise, the waiver is denied, and the unit must operate at minimum load. Generators have sought, and recently won capacity compensation for an MOWD.  Aren't you sorry you asked?
​MRTU ​a.k.a., Mr 2, otherwise known as the Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade.  Previous to that, it was called Market Design 2002, but we lost track of time.
MW ​You had better know this one, or why would you be reading a Burrito? Same for MWh.


NOPR ​Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; when in doubt, just say NOPR!  FERC's equivalent to the Cuppaccino's OIR.
NWPP ​Northwest Power Pool; a reserve-sharing group that includes many of the non-BPA utilities in the region, plus SMUD and TID in California.
NYISO ​New York Independent System Operator; a single state RTO


OATT ​Open Access Transmission Tariff; the bible at FERC that defines the rights and responsibilities of transmission owners that transship wholesale power, and, therefore fall under FERC's jurisdiction.
OIR ​Order Instituting Rulemaking.  Whenever you hear someone mention an OIR, a regulatory attorney angel gets its wings.


PD ​Proposed Decision, also referred to as the DD, or Draft Decision.
Peevy ​Someone that turns energy into GHG
PER ​Peak Energy Rents, or Peak Energy Reduction; a daily factor subtracted from the daily capacity payment made to a generator based on hypothetical market-based energy sales from a benchmark generating unit with the efficiency of a gas-fired simple-cycle peaker.
PG&E ​Pacific Gas & Electric; A utility that used to be run by engineers, then by lawyers, and now by financiers.  A company with a severe identity crisis.
PHC ​Pre-hearing Conference.  A large group of attorneys gather in a windowless hearing room and charge their clients for the time they spend setting a procedural schedule. These meetings always end before lunch.
PJM ​Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland RTO; largest RTO in the U.S., twice the size of the CAISO … otherwise known as PJM envy.
PPA ​Power Purchase Agreement; a long-term agreement between an IPP and the utility purchasing the energy from a particular generating asset.
PRG ​Procurement Review Group; a representative form of oversight on all long-term PPAs  in California, this group has many non-commercial participants making it nearly impossible for them to do anything better than rubber-stamp approval of the utilities' requests.
PRM ​Planning Reserve Margin; the percent of excess generating capacity relative to the future peak demand to make the grid reliable.
PSA ​Purchase Sale Agreement; same as BOT, above.
PUD ​Public Utility District; utilities mostly in the Pacific Northwest that take partial or full-requirement power from BPA.  The term PUD can also apply to any governmentally operated utility including federal entities.
PV ​Photovoltaic; something that turns light into energy and not to be confused with Peevey that turns energy into GHG; can also stand for the trading hub in Arizona, Palo Verde.



​QF ​Qualifying Facility; a type of IPP that also sells its waste heat to a thermal host thereby boosting its overall conversion efficiency above a minimum threshold necessary to "qualify".



RA ​Resource Adequacy; A long-standing procedural docket at the CPUC that is the result of price caps on energy. One of California's outstanding examples of thoughtful regulation (not the price caps, but the RA rules).
RAR ​Resource Adequacy Requirement; the result of regulation.
REC ​Renewable Energy Credit; a tag on each MWh of power from a renewable energy source that can be certified, recorded, and utilized by the holder or ultimate purchaser to meet an obligation mandated by a renewable-portfolio standard. Someday RECs will be tradable, although the issue is under discussion, and then the term that is used is T-RECs ... a dinosaur before its time.
RFO ​Request for Offer; like a request for bids, man. Unless it is prepared and released by a utility - then, it is a UFO.
RGGI ​Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; a regional attempt to regulate GHG emissions among seven New England states.  Operational in 2009.
RMR ​Reliability Must Run; a generating unit under contract to the CAISO to run if needed for grid reliability and stability.
RPM ​Reliability Pricing Model; form of CCM used in PJM
RPS ​Renewable Portfolio Standard; California's mandated target for integrating renewable generation into the resource mix of utilities.  The current 20% target for 2010 will not be reached until 2014 at best, or maybe longer, due to credit issues with the development of renewable generators, and the lack of suitable transmission to get the energy from source to sink.
RTO ​Three letters bound to upset any Congressional delegate from the Pacific Northwest or the Southeast; stands for Regional Transmission Organization.  An historical artifact left over from Camelot (see FERC, above).



​SCAQMD ​South Coast Air Quality Management District; the air-quality district with the toughest compliance standards for NOx and SOx, but also uses market-based principles for trading emission credits.
SCE ​Southern California Edison; A kingdom in a far away land that harbors no fools.
SCEA ​Solar & Clean Energy Act of 2008; an insidious ballot initiative funded by Dr. John Sperling to vault the state's RPS to 50% regardless of the additional consumer cost and mayhem it may cause.
​SDG&E ​San Diego Gas & Electric; a subsidiary of SEMPRA that used to be laid back, but recently has become aggressive before the CPUC asking for more ratepayer money to support unwanted transmission lines, unwanted climate action programs, and unwanted utility owned generation projects.



TCPM ​Transitional Capacity Procurement Mechansim; the CAISO's 30-day minimum capacity payment mechanism for denying a non-RA unit's waiver from its must-run obligation  This payment will disappear upon the inplementation of MRTU.
TLA ​Three-Letter Acronym
TURN ​Toward Utility Reform Network; a consumer-advocacy group that indeed does exactly what the acronmym suggests to my stomach each time they speak.



UOG ​Utility Owned Generation; a crease in the LTPP decision that allows the IOUs to submarine attempts by merchant generators to compete for long-term contracts to do the same.



VAR ​Value at Risk; an accounting mechanism used by risk managers at trading floors to compute how much capital is at risk if all of the business' open contracts are marked to market.



WCI ​Western Climate Initiative; attempt by the Western Governors Association to combine the carbon markets of the Western States
WECC ​Western Electricity Coordinating Council; warlord over all synchronous operations in the 13 western states, two Canadian Provinces, and one Mexican state.  Used to be a voluntary compliance Council, but since passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has become a mandatory compliance regional entity that reports to the National Electricity Reliability Council, and is under the jurisdiction of FERC.
​West Connect ​A voluntary organization of 13 utilities that jointly post ATC on their aggregate system.
WPTF ​Western Power Trading Forum
WREGIS ​Western Region Electric Generation Information System; the currently functional database maintained by the WECC that records the generation output of renewable energy, and the data becomes the basis for creating RECs.
WSPP ​Western Systems Power Pool; a voluntary membership organization that promotes the use of its standard contract for electricity transactions … and they have a couple of kick-ass meetings every year at outstanding venues.