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FAC – Fully Allocated Costs: Embedded costs that include both direct and indirect costs.

Fax – Facsimile:  The transmission of pictures, maps or other documents using a device that scans the original document, transforms the image into coded signals, and reproduces the original document at a distant point dialed.

FCC – Federal Communications Commission:  The federal agency that regulates interstate communications.

FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Administration: FEMA’s continuing mission is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

FERC – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: A Federal independent regulatory body within the Department of Energy that regulates interstate gas and electric rates and facilities, as well as hydroelectric plant licenses.

FF&U – Franchise Fees and Uncollectibles:  Fees charged by a city for the use of the public right-of-way.

FHWA – Federal Highway Administration: FHWA carries out Federal highway programs in partnership with the State and local agencies to meet the Nation's transportation needs.

Filtration: The process of passing water through materials with very small holes (pores) to strain out particles.

Fingerlings: Young fish, 1 to 3 inches long.

Firm Capacity: When referring to interstate pipeline, backbone transmission, or storage, firm capacity is capacity that is available under virtually all operating conditions 365 days a year.

Firm Gas: Gas sold on a continuous and generally long-term contract.

Firm Power: Power or power-producing capacity intended to be available at all times during the period covered by a guaranteed commitment to deliver, even under adverse conditions.

Fish Screen: A screen installed in a waterway or intake pipe to prevent passage of fish.

Flat Rate Service: A rate payment plan by which customer pays a single monthly, quarterly, or annual amount for unlimited use of a utility service.

Flexibility Account: A paper account in which farmers can accumulate credits for unused portions of their groundwater allotments for use in meeting conservation requirements in the future.

Floodplain: The area near a watercourse inundated during floods. The 100-year floodplain is the area that is expected to be inundated by a flood of a magnitude that has a one-in-a-hundred probability of occurring in any year.

Flow Chart: A diagram that represents the flow of data, or sequence of steps, by symbols and interconnecting lines.

Fluvial: Pertaining to, or produced by, stream action.

FO – Fiber Optics:  High-speed transmission using light to send images in telecommunications voice or data through a flexible bundle of glass fibers.

Footprint: The area in which a specific transmission can be received.

Forced Outage: The shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line or other facility, for emergency reasons or a condition in which the generating equipment is unavailable for load due to unanticipated breakdown.

Formal Complaint: Any individual, organization, or corporation may file a formal complaint with the PUC.  The complainant must state a cause of action that violates a provision of law, or order, or rule of the Commission).  Complaints are handled by the PUC, much like a civil action before a trail.  Formal Complaints are limited to matters within the PUC’s jurisdiction.  The complaint is usually heard before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), with the PUC making the final decision.  The PUC cannot award damages for claims (i.e., personal injury, property damage, or loss of wages or profits). 

Fossil Fuel: Any naturally occurring organic fuel, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

FPA – Federal Power Act:  Enacted in 1920, and amended in 1935, the Act consists of three parts. The first part incorporated the Federal Water Power Act administered by the former Federal Power Commission, whose activities were confined almost entirely to licensing non-Federal hydroelectric projects. Parts II and III were added with the passage of the Public Utility Act. These parts extended the Act's jurisdiction to include regulating the interstate transmission of electrical energy and rates for its sale as wholesale in interstate commerce. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is now charged with the administration of this law.

FPH – Full Panel Hearing: The Commissioners sitting as a group in formal session, usually to hear oral argument in a major proceeding or on a major topic of interest.

Franchise Authority: A local body, usually a local government entity, which enters into a contractual agreement with a cable company.

Fry: Young fish about an inch long, just emerged from gravel beds after their egg sack has been absorbed.

FTC – Federal Trade Commission:  An independent agency that enforces federal consumer protection and antitrust laws.

Full-Forced Outage: The net capability of main generating units that is unavailable for load for emergency reasons.

Futures Market: Arrangement through a contract for the delivery of a commodity at a future time and at a price specified at the time of purchase. The price is based on an auction or market basis. This is a standardized, exchange-traded, and government regulated hedging mechanism.

FW – Fixed Wireless:  The broadband technology that uses an antenna placed on or in a building to send and receive data.

FY – Fiscal Year: The 12-month period between settlements of financial accounts.  The State of California ’s FY is July 1st through June 30th of the following year.


Gas Turbine Plant: A plant in which the prime mover is a gas turbine. A gas turbine consists typically of an axial-flow air compressor, one or more combustion chambers, where liquid or gaseous fuel is burned and the hot gases are passed to the turbine and where the hot gases expand to drive the generator and are then used to run the compressor.

GCIM – Gas Cost Incentive Mechanism: Replaces the Reasonableness Review as a means of reviewing natural gas purchasing activities for retail core customers. The purpose of the GCIM is to provide market-based incentives to reduce the cost of gas to core customers and to provide appropriate objective standards against which to measure a utility’s performance in gas procurement and transportation functions on behalf of core customers.

Generation Company: A regulated or non-regulated entity (depending upon the industry structure) that operates and maintains existing generating plants. The generation company may own the generation plants or interact with the short-term market on behalf of plant owners. In the context of restructuring the market for electricity, the generation company is sometimes used to describe a specialized "marketer" for the generating plants formerly owned by a vertically integrated utility.

Geothermal Energy: Energy from the internal heat of the earth, which may be residual heat, friction heat, or a result of radioactive decay. The heat is found in rocks and fluids at various depths and can be extracted by drilling and/or pumping.

Geothermal Plant: A plant in which the prime mover is a steam turbine. The turbine is driven either by steam produced from hot water or by natural steam that derives its energy from heat found in rocks or fluids at various depths beneath the surface of the earth. The energy is extracted by drilling and/or pumping.

GHz – Gigahertz:  A unit of frequency equal to one billion hertz (one billion cycles per second).

GIR – Gas Industry Restructuring:  A long-term regulatory process, initiated in the mid-1980s by the California Public Utilities Commission, to change the fundamental structure of the state’s natural gas industry.  The new structure, among other things, now allows gas customers to procure their own gas.

GO – General Order: A PUC order that sets standards, procedures, or guidelines applicable to a class of utilities, as distinguished from a decision affecting only a single utility.

Gopher: A tool used on the Internet that permits users to locate and retrieve information quickly throughout the Internet.

GPCD – Gallons per Capita per Day:  The amount of water used on average by an individual each day. Total gpcd is calculated by dividing total water use in the area, including industrial and commercial uses, by the number of users. Residential gpcd is the number resulting from only considering domestic water use.

Gradient, hydraulic: The change of pressure per unit distance from one point to another in an aquifer. When an area is said to be “downgradient” it is at a lower level and water will flow in that direction.

GRC – General Rate Case: A proceeding in which the Commission takes a broad, in-depth look at a utility’s revenues, expenses, and financial outlook and considers quality of service and other factors to arrive at just and reasonable rates.  These are the major regulatory proceedings that come before the Commission.

Greenhouse Effect: The increasing mean global surface temperature of the earth caused by gases in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbon). The greenhouse effect allows solar radiation to penetrate but absorbs the infrared radiation returning to space.

Grid: The layout of an electrical distribution system.

Gross Generation: The total amount of electric energy produced by a generating facility, as measured at the generator terminals.

Groundwater: Subsurface water body in the zone of saturation, or more commonly, available groundwater is defined as: That portion of the water beneath the surface of the earth that can be collected with wells, tunnels, or drainage galleries, or that flows naturally to the earth’s surface via seeps or springs.

Groundwater Basin : An area enclosing a relatively distinct hydrologic body or related bodies of groundwater.

GSM - Global System for Mobile Communication: This is the current radiotelephone standard in Europe and many other countries except Japan and the U.S.

GW – Grid West:  A member-based, non-stock, not-for-profit regional independent transmission organization.  Grid West supervises the collective transmission facilities of its service area and is charged with nondiscriminatory coordination of market transactions, system-wide transmission planning, network reliability, and administration of the markets.

gWh – Gigawatt-hours:  One billion watt-hours.


Hard Copy: Computer output printed on paper.

Hardness: A water quality measurement that indicates the level of alkaline salts such as calcium, magnesium and iron

HCO – Hearing Carry Over:  A person with a speech disability is able to listen to the other end user and in reply a communications assistant speaks the text as typed by the person with the speech disability. <b ">

HDD – Heating Degree Day:  A unit of measurement derived from the variance between the average temperature during a given time period (month, season, year) and a reference point, usually 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

HDSL - High bit rate Digital Subscriber Line:  A symmetric method of transmitting data rates over the Internet.

Heat Rate: A measure of the amount of thermal energy needed to generate a given amount of electric energy.

Hedging Contracts: Contracts that establish future prices and quantities of electricity independent of the short-term market. Derivatives may be used for this purpose.

High Cost Fund: A special account, financed by toll revenues from long distance carriers, which is distributed annually among small telephone companies to help hold down rate increases in less populated areas.

HSD – Home Satellite Dish:  A home receiver that allows the consumer to receive existing satellite transmissions.

HTML – Hyper-Text Mark-Up Language:  HTML is the language used by programmers to design a home page of computers on the Internet as part of the Worldwide Web project.

HTTP – Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol:  The method for moving “hypertext” files across the Internet. This method requires an HTTP program at one end and a server at the other.

HVAC:  Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

HVDC: High Voltage Direct Current.

Hydraulic Gradient: The change of pressure per unit distance from one point to another in an aquifer.

Hydroelectric Plant: A plant in which the turbine generators are driven by falling water.

Hydroelectric Power: The harnessing of flowing water to produce mechanical or electrical energy.

Hz – Hertz:  A unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second (cps). One kilohertz equals 1000 cps; one megahertz equals 1 million cps; one gigahertz equals 1 billion cps.


Last Modified: 1/28/2008

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