Definitions and abbreviations

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Independent Power: Electric power produced by an entity other than the electric utility in the area.

NUG: Non-utility generation (or generator) -- synonymous with independent power. See the more complete explanation of Non-Utility Generation below.

Parallel Generation: Synonymous with independent power and NUG, above.

Private power: Power produced from privately-owned generation facilities. (Most independent power in Canada is also private power.)

Open access: A system where electricity producers are allowed to interconnect to the transmission system (the wires) and transmit their power to buyers. (It's also referred to as transmission access, or in some cases, 'wheeling' of power.) The producers pay a fee for the use of the wires of course, but the amount of the fee is set by an independent regulator, to make sure that all producers have the same opportunity to market their power. This is known as "non-discriminatory transmission tariffs" and it is an essential component of transmission access.

Electric Utility: An electric power company that operates a power transmission system and has the legal right to produce and sell electric power in a given geographic area. Usually involves some form of legal monopoly over electric services in the geographic area.

Private Utility: An electric utility that is privately owned, regardless of whether its shares are publicly traded or privately held. (Most US utilities are private, a few Canadian are as well). Synonymous with "IOU" or investor-owned utility.

Public Utility: In Canada, a provincial crown corporation such as Ontario Hydro that is owned by the government. In the US, a public utility may be government-owned, non-profit, co-operatively owned, or a combination of the above.

Privatization: Refers to the privatization of ownership of a public utility. Does not necessarily imply the reduction of a utility's monopoly powers, or the purchase of independent power.

RET: Renewable Energy Technology

EA: Environmental Assessment

EAB: Environmental Assessment Board

DSM: "Demand Side Management" or energy efficiency

Cogeneration or CHP (Combined Heat and Power) is a highly efficient means of generating heat and electric power. Displacing fossil fuel combustion with heat that would normally be wasted in the process of power generation, it reaches efficiencies that triple, or even quadruple, conventional power generation. Although cogeneration has been in use for nearly a century, in the mid-1980s relatively low natural gas prices made it a widely attractive alternative for new power generation. In fact,cogeneration is largely responsible for the dramatic decline of nuclear and hydraulic power plant construction that occurred in the 1980s. Cogeneration accounts for well over half of all new power plant capacity built in North America in the last decade.

The environmental implications of cogeneration stem not just from its inherant efficiency, but also from its decentralized character. Because it is impractical to transport heat over any distance, cogeneration equipment must be located physically close to its heat user. A number of environmentally positive consequences flow from this fact: Power tends to be generated close to the power consumer, reducing transmission losses, stray current, and the need for distribution equipment significantly. Cogeneration plants tend to be built smaller, and owned and operated by smaller and more localized companies. As a general rule, they are also built closer to populated areas, which causes them to be held to higher environmental standards. In northern Europe, and increasingly in North America, cogeneration is at the heart of district heating and cooling systems. District heating combined with cogeneration has the potential to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions by more than any other technology except public transit.

To understand cogeneration, it is necessary to know that most conventional power generation is based on burning a fuel to produce steam. It is the pressure of the steam which actually turns the turbines and generates power, in an inherently inefficient process. Because of a basic principle of physics no more than one third of the energy of the original fuel can be converted to the steam pressure which generates electricity. Cogeneration, in contrast, makes use of the excess heat, usually in the form of relatively low-temperature steam exhausted from the power generation turbines. Such steam is suitable for a wide range of heating applications, and effectively displaces the combustion of carbon-based fuels, with all their environmental implications.

In addition to cogeneration, there are a number of related technologies which make use of exhaust steam at successively lower temperatures and pressures. These are collectively known as "combined cycle" systems. They are more efficient than conventional power generation, but not as efficient as cogeneration, which produces about 30% power and 70% heat. Combined cycle technologies can be financially attractive despite their lower efficiencies, because they can produce proportionately more power and less heat. Environmentally, combined cycle systems are controversial, because the make low-cost power available, reducing the incentive for efficient consumption, and also because they are not as efficient as true cogeneration.


Non-Utility Generation (NUG) can be defined as electric power generated by a person or company other than the local utility. A "utility" is the company which holds the exclusive or near-exclusive legal right to distribute and retail electricity in a given geographic area. Also known as parallel generation or independent power. Non-utility generation has enjoyed explosive growth in North America and around the world since about 1978, moving from almost non-existence to rivalling utility construction in many jurisdictions.


List of commonly used acronyms in the Canadian power sector:

CAE: Capacity Allocation Exempt

CAR: Capacity Allocation Required

CBA: Cost Benefit Analysis

CCGT: Combined Cycle Gas Turbine

CESOP: Clean Energy Standard Offer Program

CHP: Combined Heat and Power (co-generation)

CIA: Customer Impact Assessment (or Connection Impact Assessment)

COD: Commercial Operation Date

CONE: Cost of New Entry

DSC: Distribution System Code

EA: Environmental Attribute(s) or Environmental Assessment(s)

ECT: Economic Connection Test

EOT: Eastern Ontario Triangle

FIT: Feed-in Tariff (Ontario’s open-ended program for procuring renewable energy)

GA: Global Adjustment (a fixed charge added to Ontario electricity bills)

HOEP: Hourly Ontario Energy Price

HONI: Hydro One Networks Inc.

IESO: Independent Electricity System Operator

IPSP: Integrated Power System Plan

IRRP: Integrated Regional Resource Plan

LDC: Local Distribution Company

LMP: Locational Marginal Pricing

LRP: Large Renewable Procurement

LSE: Load Serving Entity

LTEP: Long Term Energy Plan

Mini Perm: Short-term financing used to pay off income-producing construction or commercial properties, usually payable in three to five years.

MRDCL: Minimum Required Domestic Content Level 

NTP: Notice to Proceed (a stage in the FIT process which allows financial commitments to be confirmed)

NUG: Non-Utility Generator (generally associated with power purchase agreements signed by Ontario Hydro in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s)

OEB: Ontario Energy Board

OEFC: Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation

OPA: Ontario Power Authority

OPG: Ontario Power Generation, Inc.

PV: Photovoltaic (solar panels)

REA: Renewable Energy Approval

RESOP: Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program

RIP: Regional Infrastructure Plan

RFP: Request for Proposals

RPP: Regulated Price Plan

RRFE: Renewed Regulatory Framework for Electricity (a regulatory initiative in Ontario)

SBG: Surplus Baseload Generation

SIA: System Impact Assessment

SMD: Supply Mix Directive

TAT and DAT: Transmission Availability Test and Distribution Availability Test

TIR: Technical Interconnection Requirements, a document produced by Hydro One

TSC: Transmission System Code

TSSA: Technical Standards and Safety Authority


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Last update: 8 April 2004

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