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Public Utilities Commission 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102

Glossary

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A

A. – Application: A formal, written request by a utility to the PUC to establish or change rates, terms, or conditions of service.

AA – Auto Answer:  A device that automatically responds to a telephone call.

AB – Answer Back:  An electrical and/or visual indication to the caller that the person called is on the line.

AB - Assembly Bill:  A Legislative bill sponsored or authored by an Assemblymember.

Above-Market Cost: The cost of a service in excess of the price of comparable services in the market.

AC – Area Code:  A three-digit number identifying more than 150 geographic areas of the U.S. and Canada that permits direct distance telephone dialing. A similar global numbering plan has been established for international subscriber dialing.  Synonym:  Numbering Plan Area (NPA).

AC – Assigned Commissioner: The Commissioner at the PUC that leads a particular case by working with the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case to set the scope and schedule of the proceeding.

AC – Air Conditioner:  Equipment used for air treatment consisting of a means for ventilation, air circulation, air cleaning, and heat transfer (either heating or cooling). The unit usually consists of an evaporator or cooling coil, and an electrically driven compressor and condenser combination.

AC – Alternating Current:  Flow of electricity that constantly changes direction between positive and negative sides.  Almost all power produced by electric utilities in the U.S. moves in current that shifts direction at a rate of 60 times per second.

AC – Authorization Code:  A 5- to 14-digit number entered using a touch-tone phone to identify the caller as a customer of the long distance service. Used primarily before Equal Access as a way to verify the caller as a customer and bill calls.

ACAP – Annual Cost Allocation Proceeding:  A yearly PUC proceeding that addresses the terms and conditions under which California utilities acquire future power resources, including power from independent energy suppliers. 

Access Charges: Charges the local telephone company makes for a long distance toll call in or out of state.

ACD – Automatic Call Distributor:  A switching system, typically used in call centers, designed to queue and/or distribute a large volume of incoming calls to a group of attendants to the next available "answering" position.

Acid Rain: Precipitation containing harmful amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids formed primarily by nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned.  It can be wet precipitation (rain, snow or fog) or dry precipitation (absorbed gaseous and particulate matter, aerosol particles or dust).  Acid rain has a pH below 5.6, while normal rain has a pH of 5.6, which is slightly acidic.

ACR – Assigned Commissioner's Ruling:  A ruling on a PUC proceeding by the PUC Commissioner assigned to oversee that proceeding.

Active Satellite: A satellite that receives and transmits radio-communication signals.

ACWA – Association of California Water Agencies:  ACWA was founded in 1910, representing and providing key services to members. From legislation, to regulatory activity, to broad policy issues, ACWA works in Sacramento and in Washington , D.C. as a constant and advocate for California 's public water agencies. On the Internet at http://www.acwa.com/.

AD - Abbreviated Dialing:  Preprogramming of a caller's phone system or long distance company's switch to recognize a 2- to 4-digit number as an abbreviation for a frequently dialed phone number, and automatically dial the whole number. Synonym: Speed Dialing.

ADAD – Automatic Dialing Announcing Device:  A device connected to a telephone line that dials numbers automatically.

ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution:  ADR commonly refers to the process of resolving a dispute between two or more persons without obtaining a formal, binding resolution of the dispute by a court or agency.  ADR includes a variety of individual processes such as negotiation, fact finding, mediation, and arbitration. 

ADSL – Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line:  Residential DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service (connection to the Internet) with a larger potion of capacity devoted to downstream communications, less to upstream.

ADU – Automatic Dialing Unit:  A device programmed with frequently called numbers. The caller presses one to three digits, and the preprogrammed number is automatically dialed into the phone circuit.

Ad Valorem Taxes: Property taxes collected by a county on the valuation of a utility's assets.

Advanced Services: Advanced services enable users to send and receive large amounts of information.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines advanced services as "high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications that enable users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video using any technology."

AF – Acre-Foot:  325,851 gallons of water.

AF/Yr: Acre-foot per year.

Affiliate: A company that is controlled by another or that has the same owner as another company.

Affiliated Power Producer: A generating company that is affiliated with a utility.

AFUDC – Allowance for Funds Used During Construction: Construction may be financed from internally generated funds (primarily earnings retained in the business) or from funds provided by other external sources (short- and long-term debt).  The allowance for funds used during construction is intended to recognize the cost of these funds dedicated to construction during the building period.  To arrive at the "allowance," a common procedure makes use of a formula that is based on the assumption that short-term debt is the first source of construction funds.  The cost rate for short-term debt is based on current costs.  Because a utility plant is subject to depreciation, the allowance for funds used during construction is recovered in the form of depreciation from ratepayers over the service life of the plant to which it applies.

AFV – Alternative Fuel Vehicle: A motor vehicle which is run on an energy source other than gasoline (i.e., electricity, natural gas, etc.).

AG – Attorney General: The Attorney General represents the people of California in civil and criminal matters before trial, appellate and the supreme courts of California and the United States . The Attorney General also serves as legal counsel to state officers and, with few exceptions, to state agencies, boards and commissions.

Agenda: The notice of business to be considered and voted upon at the PUC's Commission meeting.

Agenda Item: A term referring to the item or document number that is to be voted on by the PUC at its Commission meeting.

Aggregator: Any marketer, broker, public agency, city, county, or special district that combines the loads of multiple end-use customers in aiding the sale and purchase of electric energy, transmission, and other services on behalf of these customers.  Also, a person or business that provides a public telephone for the use of customers through an Operator Service Provider (OSP).

AIOD – Automatic Identification of Outward Dialing:  The ability to provide an itemized breakdown of charges (including individual charges for toll calls) for calls made by each telephone extension.

AL – Access Line:  A telephone circuit that connects a customer location to a network switching center.

AL – Advice Letter: A filing by letter to the PUC to make minor changes in rates and services that, unless ordered by the Commission, do not require formal public hearings.

Algae: Plants without stems, roots or leaves containing chlorophyll.

ALJ – Administrative Law Judge: A PUC staff member who serves as a hearing officer at formal Commission proceedings.  An ALJ conducts public hearings, issues subpoenas, questions witnesses, and prepares draft decision and orders for the Commission's consideration.

Alluvium: Sand, sand, silt, gravel or similar debris carried by water.

AMI – Advanced Metering Infrastructure:  A system of advanced electric and natural gas meters that can be read remotely.

AMR – Automatic Meter Reading:  A type of technology in which electronically recorded information from an electric or natural gas meter is transferred to a microprocessor-based reading device via an electric probe to allow a meter to be "read" remotely.

Anadromous: Salmon, and some trout, that migrate from fresh water streams to the ocean and back to complete their life cycle.

Ancillary Services: Services necessary for the transmission of energy from resources to loads.

ANG - Alberta Natural Gas Company:  A 49.9 percent-owned subsidiary of TransCanada PipeLines Limited that owns and operates a large-diameter pipeline for the transportation of natural gas through southeastern British Columbia to the U.S. Pacific Northwest and California.

ANI – Automatic Number Identification:  On long distance calls, the process by which the local phone company passes a caller's local billing phone number to his/her long distance company when a "1+" or "10-XXX" call is made.  With ANI a caller's long distance carrier knows which phone number to bill without requiring the caller to enter any extra digits to be identified.

ANSI – American National Standards Institute:  A private, non-profit organization (501(c)3) that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. (ANSI)

AP – Attendant Position:  A telephone switchboard operator's position. It provides either automatic (cordless) or manual (plug and jack) operator controls for incoming and/or outgoing telephone calls.

Appearance Form: A person or corporation becomes a party to a formal PUC proceeding by submitting an Appearance Form to the PUC's Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the time of the hearing.  Such a party may present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, sponsor witnesses, file briefs, and appeal the result of the proceeding.

APD – Abnormal Peak Day:  A statistical planning standard defined as the coldest temperature that will be exceeded every 90 years, on average.  On Pacific Gas and Electric Company's system, an abnormal peak day is defined as a system-weighted mean temperature of 29° Fahrenheit, which has a probability of occurring once in 90 years.  On SoCalGas' system, an extreme peak day is defined as a day when the average system-wide temperature is 38° Fahrenheit.  This has a probability of occurring once in 35 years.

Appropriative Water Rights: Legal rights to the use of water resources developed by "beneficial" use. The first appropriator in time may perfect a right as against all subsequent appropriators. California uses a complex mixture of appropriative water rights and riparian water rights.

APS – Arizona Public Service:  Arizona 's largest electric utility, based in Phoenix .

Aquatic Biota: Organisms that spend the major portion of their life cycles in water.

Aquifier: A geologic formation that stores, transmits and yields significant quantities of water to wells and springs.

AQMD - Air Quality Management District:  A public agency that regulates the sources of air pollution in a specific region.

AQMP – Air Quality Management Plan:  A program to help clean the air using measures to reduce emissions from vehicles, industrial plants, businesses and other sources.

ARA – Attrition Rate Adjustment:  A mechanism that provides for changes in the amount of money a utility requires to do business between General Rate Case proceedings to offset the effects on earnings of changes in operational and capital-related expenses.

ARMIS – Automated Reporting Management Information System: The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) system that was initiated in 1987 for collecting financial and operational data from the largest telephone carriers. On the Internet at http://www.fcc.gov/wcb/armis/.

AREM – Alliance for Retail Energy Markets:  An organization of electric service providers that are active in California 's retail electricity market.

ARB – California Air Resources Board: California 's Legislature established the Air Resources Board in 1967 to attain and maintain healthy air quality; conduct research into the causes of and solutions to air pollution; and systematically attack the serious problem caused by motor vehicles, which are the major causes of air pollution in the State. On the Internet at http://www.arb.ca.gov/homepage.htm.

ARF – Alternative Regulatory Framework: An incentive-based regulatory program under which local telephone companies are free to manage their business and retain profits, subject first to a rate cap, second to a benchmark rate of return beyond which profits must be shared with ratepayers, and third to an absolute earnings cap beyond which all profits must be returned to ratepayers. 

ARS – Automatic Route Selection:  Electronic and mechanical selection and routing of outgoing calls without human intervention.

Artesian Well: One in which water flows to the top naturally.

AS – Analog Signal:  An electrical signal that varies in frequency, phase or amplitude in response to changes in physical surroundings like sound, light, heat, position or pressure.

AS – Answer Supervision:  An electrical signal fed back up the line by the local telephone company at the distant end of a long distance call to indicate positively the call has been answered by the called party.  An AS tells billing equipment to start timing the call.

ART – Audible Ringing Tone:  An audible signal heard by the calling party during the ringing-interval.

AT—Attenuation:  A general term used to denote the decrease in power between that transmitted and that received due to loss through equipment, lines, or other transmission devices. It is usually expressed as a ratio in dB (decibel).

ATB – All Trunks Busy:  A single tone interrupted at a 120 pm (impulses per minute) rate to indicate all lines or trunks in a routing group are busy.

ATR – Affiliate Transaction Rules: Rules governing interactions between a holding company and its affiliates.

Attrition: The decline in earnings caused by expenses and investment costs increasing a faster than revenues

Audio Text: The term used to describe a system that provides automated interactive telephone information, such as stock prices, sports scores and personal information.

Augmentation: Adding to the water from another basin or storage area.

Average Temperature Year: A forecast year based on long-term average recorded temperatures, or "heating degree days."

  

Last Modified: 11/26/2007


 
 
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