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TA'96 – Telecommunications Act of 1996:  This act gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to set ground rules and policies for local competition. It gives states the responsibility for implementing many of the statutory and federal regulatory requirements stipulated in the Act, either jointly with the FCC or on their own.

Tariff: A document filed by a utility with the PUC that specifies lawful rates, charges, rules, and conditions under which it will provide services to the public.

TCF: Trillion Cubic Feet.

TD – Telecommunications Division:  A division at the PUC that assists the PUC in developing and implementing policies and procedures to facilitate competition in all telecommunications markets, and to address regulatory changes required by state and federal legislation.

Telecommunications: Transmitting or receiving information by way of electron-magnetic signals (e.g., telephone, telegraph).

Telephone: A device that converts acoustical (sound) energy into electrical energy for transmission to a distant point.

Teletext: Textual and graphic information broadcast in the vertical blanking interval between conventional video frames in television signals. It requires a special adapter. 

Telco: A telephone company.

Terminal: A point at which information can enter or leave a communications network.

Testimony: A declaration, oral or written, given under oath at a public hearing and subject to cross-examination.

Therm: A unit of heat equal to 100,000 British thermal units (Btu).  The heat content of natural gas is usually measured in therms rather than cubic feet because gas from different sources may have different heating values.

THM – Trihalomethanes:  Any of various derivatives CHX3 of methane that have three halogen atoms per molecule and are formed during the chlorination of drinking water.

3G - Third Generation: Intended to be the next great wireless technology, wideband mobile services and applications offering users faster access to the Web.

Time-sharing: Simultaneous use of a computer by two or more users.

TMIS – Transportation Management Information System: A database application for the Transportation Division that runs on the UNISYS computer.  TMIS tracks fees paid, operating authorities, license, and other information about vehicles regulated by the Commission.

TNs: Telephone numbers.

Toll Call: Any call to a point outside the local service area.

TOU – Time of Use: A rate for electrical energy that varies with time, generally tracking the cost of generation at the time.

Transformer: An electrical device for changing the voltage of alternating current.

Transmission: The movement or transfer of electric energy over an interconnected group of lines and associated equipment between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery to consumers, or is delivered to other electric systems. Transmission is considered to end when the energy is transformed for distribution to the consumer.

Transmission System (Electric): An interconnected group of electric transmission lines and associated equipment for moving or transferring electric energy in bulk between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery over the distribution system lines to consumers, or is delivered to other electric systems.

Transportation: In the natural gas industry, the movement of natural gas via pipelines, including transmission from the wellhead to the customer.

TRS - Telecommunications Relay Service: A national and international program that provides functional equivalency of access to public switched telecommunications network services by persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets minimum required standards for TRS operations, and requires and certifies that each state meet these legal standards. The FCC mandated rules for TRS in response to Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ( ADA ) and its impact on Title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 64. Each state is independently responsible for acquiring and administering its own TRS.

TT – Text Telephone:  A machine that uses graphic communication in the transmission of coded signals through a wire or radio communication system. TT supersedes the term "TDD" or "telecommunications device for the deaf."

TTA – Trust Transfer Amount:  A portion of a customer's electric bill that is used to pay off the investor-owned utilities' rate reduction bonds' principal and interest. The Trust Transfer Amount decreases over time as the bonds are gradually paid off, and will end within 10 years (around 2008).

TTYs – TeleTypewriters:  Machines used to transmit and/or receive communications on printed page and/or tape.

Turbidity: Relative opaqueness or cloudiness of water due to suspended or dissolved particles that block light penetration.

Turbine: A machine for generating rotary mechanical power from the energy of a stream of fluid (such as water, steam, or hot gas). Turbines convert the kinetic energy of fluids to mechanical energy through the principles of impulse and reaction, or a mixture of the two.

TURN – The Utility Reform Network:  A nonprofit, consumer advocacy organization based in San Francisco that deals with electricity, natural gas and telecommunications issues. On the Internet at

Turnaround Time: The time it takes from beginning to end of a project.

TVRO – Television Receive-Only: Earth station equipment that receives video signals from satellite.  No Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license required.

TWX – Teletypewriter Exchange Service: A dial-up worldwide telegraph service used in the US and Canada allowing subscribers to send printed messages to one another.

TY: Test Year.


UCAN – Utility Consumers' Action Network:  A nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in San Diego that deals with energy, telecommunications and financial issues. On the Internet at

UC/CSU: University of California/California State University

UDC - Utility Distribution Company:  An entity that provides regulated services to customers.

UEG – Utility Electric Generation: In the natural gas industry, a gas-fired electric utility power plant.

UF – Microfiltration:  A form of filtration.

ULTS – Universal Lifeline Telephone Service: This PUC program advances the PUC policy of assuring access to telephone service to every California residents by allowing a discount on monthly bills to eligible low-income subscribers.

Unbundled: The separation of a service into its distinct elements, e.g., the provisions of natural gas to residential or industrial customers is now split into the transportation of natural gas via pipeline to the utility and the delivery of the gas from the utility to the user.

Uncollectibles: An amount of money that the utility cannot collect from the customer due to nonpayment of bills; estimated as a percentage of total revenue and treated as an expense item.

Undercharge: Any transportation charge below the filed tariff rate, the accepted reduced rate, or that is prescribed by the Commission in one of its MRTs.  The PUC may impose and collect form the carrier a fine that equals the amount of the undercharge.

UNE-P - Unbundled Network Element Platform: Refers to the combination of infrastructure elements - including unbundled loops, switches, and transport elements - that CLECs must acquire to provide local telephone service to customers.  By reducing the cost and time of provisioning service, UNE-P enables CLECs to provide local service in regions normally serviced by ILECs.  A CLEC utilizing a UNE-P does not have to lease space in the ILEC central office but instead leases the network elements necessary to provide service from the ILEC. The UNE-P CLEC usually leases a copper loop, a port on the ILEC switch, and a connection to the CLEC's point-of-presence.

UNE Revenues: Revenues received from telecommunications carriers for Unbundled Network Elements. 

UNEs – Unbundled Network Elements:  Equipment of an incumbent telecommunications carrier that a competitor leases in order to provide service in the incumbent's service territory.  UNEs include, but are not limited to, the Local Loop, Local Switching and any combination thereof (e.g. local loop and switch port).

Upstream: Data flowing from your computer to the Internet.

URG - Utility Retained Generation: The generation owned directly by the state's three Investor-Owned Utilities (PG&E, SDG&E, Edison), which was "retained" by the utilities and not sold off as part of deregulation. 

URL – Uniform Resource Locator:  The address of any resource or organization listed on the Internet and part of the Worldwide Web. The URL for PUC is

Useful Thermal Output: The thermal energy made available for use in any industrial or commercial process, or used in any heating or cooling application, i.e., total thermal energy made available for processes and applications other than electrical generation.

USOA – Uniform System of Accounts: An accounting manual including a detailed listing of accounts, their definition and general instructions for using the system.

USDOT – United States Department of Transportation: Established by an act of Congress on October 15, 19 66, the Department's first official day of operation was April 1, 19 67. The mission of the Department is to serve the U.S. by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future. On the Internet at

USTA – United States Telecom Association: Telecommunications association with the goals of advocacy, marketing and business development, strategic communications, and finance.  On the Internet at


Value of Service: A monetary measure of the usefulness or necessity of utility service to a customer group.

VCO – Voice Carry-Over:  A reduced form of Telecommunications Relay Service where the person with the hearing disability speaks directly to the other end user.  TRS is a national and international program that provides functional equivalency of access to public switched telecommunications network services by persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled.

VDT – Video Display Terminal: A computer screen.

Vertical Integration: An arrangement whereby the same company owns all the different aspects of making, selling, and delivering a product or service. In the electric industry, it refers to the historically common arrangement whereby a utility would own its own generating plants, transmission system, and distribution lines to provide all aspects of electric service.

VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol: Voice delivered using the Internet Protocol is a term used for a set of facilities for managing the delivery of voice information using the Internet Protocol (IP). In general, this means sending voice information in digital form in discrete packets rather than in the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Voltage: A measure of electric potential, which is the condition that causes electric energy to flow.  Voltage has the following characteristics:  a push or force, does nothing by itself, has the potential to do work, appears between two points, and is always there.

Voltage Reduction: Any intentional reduction of system voltage by 3 percent or greater for reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the bulk electric power supply system.


Last Modified: 1/28/2008

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