What do all these words mean? (Energy Glossary)

Much like a dictionary, below lists the terms, acronyms and definitions for the services we provide. Let’s take a look. 

 
Connection fee 

A fee charged by the utility to connect and start electric service at a particular address. Note: This is not a fee charged by Rhythm. However, we can help track down why it was charged if you reach out to us. 

 

Customer choice/electricity choice 

Customer choice refers to a selection of 1) a retail electricity provider (like Rhythm) and 2) an electricity plan to meet your specific needs. The utility pushing the electricity to your house will not change, but the company that supplies your electricity and energy charge agreement can change with no interruption in service. 

 
Disconnect/reconnect fee 

A fee charged by your utility, and definitely not by Rhythm, to disconnect or reconnect your service. 

 

Distributed renewable generation (DRG) 

Think of DRG as rooftop solar and windmills—power generated at your home. This power supplies a portion of your electricity needs. DRG systems are typically connected to the power grid and can send excess electricity produced to the local electricity grid. Pretty cool, right? 

 

Distribution system 

Think of a distribution system as the cables and poles that run along your street. It’s how utilities deliver power from the electric grid to our customers.  

 

Electric energy/Electricity 

The supply of electric current used to power, well, everything in a home. For customers, electric energy/electricity is most typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). 

 

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) 

The electricity system operator for most of Texas. They work to achieve reliability across the state of Texas.  

 

Electric service identifier (ESI ID or ES ID) 

A unique number that represents your electric meter’s location to the electricity grid. You can find this number on your electricity bill or by searching for your address on Rhythm’s sign-up page. 

 

Electric utility 

The company that delivers electricity to your home, typically through cables and poles. Rhythm passes through the charges for transmission and distribution that come from the utility. You can identify the utility that serves your address by searching for your location on Rhythm’s sign-up page. 

 

Electrical grid 

An ecosystem of transmission and distribution lines, substations and transformers that connect together to deliver electricity to customers. 

 

Electricity demand 

The amount of electricity being consumed at any given time. Think cranking the air conditioning  in summer. That would be a moment of high demand, to say the least. 

 

Electricity Facts Label (EFL) 

Best thought of as the CliffsNotes of what’s included in a given electricity plan in TX. It helps you compare electricity plans. And as it’s required by the Texas Public Utility Commission, every plan has one. Need help reading an EFL from Rhythm or another provider? Please reach out to Rhythm. We are happy to review the details and compare the offers with you. 

 

Electricity generation 

This is the source of your electric current. This term is often associated with power plants and fossil fuels. At Rhythm, we prefer the renewable generators, like solar, wind, hydro, or biomass.  

 
Electricity usage 

This is the amount of electricity consumed over a particular period of time. (Think your monthly billing cycle). The amount of electricity consumed is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Your bill, or energy charge, is a measurement of kWh consumed x cents per kWh.  
 

Energy charge 

What you are charged for your electricity usage, measured by kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed x cents per kWh. 

 

Energy efficiency 

Energy efficiency is actions or products that can conserve energy and help lower bills. At Rhythm, we offer tips and insights about your energy usage so you can maximize energy efficiency. 

 

Energy source 

The source of where your energy comes from. Non-renewable resources, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, are sourced from deep in the earth and converted at a power plant for energy. At Rhythm, we emphasize renewable resources, sourced from wind, water, and the sun.  

 

Fixed rate 

A fixed-rate term is an energy charge that does not change. When you agree to a fixed-rate term at Rhythm, that’s your rate through the duration of your contract.  
 

HVAC 

An acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The HVAC system is responsible for heating and cooling your home. It is typically the highest power-consuming appliance during Texas summers, which should not come as a surprise to anyone in Texas. 

 

Kilowatt (kW) 

A standard unit that measures energy. A kW is literally 1,000 watts (or 100 60W-equivalent LED lightbulbs).

 

 

Kilowatt-hour (kWh) 

A unit of measurement for electricity supply or consumption. A kilowatt-hour of consumption is the equivalent of a 1,000-watt appliance running for one hour. Most relevant to you: Electricity prices are typically quoted in cents per kWh. 

 

Meter 

A device that measures the amount of electrical energy consumed. It’s how utility companies or transmission and distribution service providers (TDSPs) know exactly how much electricity you’ve used. 

 
Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC or PUCT) 

The Texas state agency responsible for the regulation and oversight of electricity services in Texas. Their mission: to protect customers, foster competition, and promote high-quality infrastructure for all Texans. 

 

Rate 

The amount charged per kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumed. 

 

Renewable energy 

Electricity produced by solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass generators. Renewable energy has a lower carbon footprint than fossil fuel sources and can play an important part in sustainability of our electrical grid and the fight against climate change.  

 

Retail electric provider (REP) 

A company in Texas that sells electricity supply. Like Rhythm! 

 

Solar power 

Electricity created from heat radiation of the sun.  

 

Smart energy 

An advanced, automated ecosystem of software and technology that reduces waste, reduces environmental impacts, and help you use power more efficiently.  
 

Smart home 

Advanced, automated lightning, heating and electronics that can be controlled remotely to make homes more efficient and convenient. 

 

Smart meter 

Advanced meters that record and store your electrical usage in 15-minute intervals so you can have better insight into your own consumption habits, allowing you to respond accordingly.  

 

TDSP (transmission and distribution service provider) 
An acronym for transmission and distribution service provider. They’re the utility that delivers electricity to customers’ homes. They are responsible for maintaining and repairing electrical poles and wires. 

 

TDSP delivery charges 
The cost of delivering electricity that applies to all customers within a TDSP's service area, regardless of retail electricity provider (REP). Note: All delivery charges charged by the TDSP are approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. 

 

Transformer 

Used to move electricity between circuits. Ever see those big gray cylinders attached to a telephone pole? That’s a transformer.  

 

Usage 

The amount of electricity you used during a specified billing period listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is listed on your electric bill as kWh used. 

 

Variable price 

Unlike a fixed-rated term, a variable-rate term is an energy charge that can change over time. 
 

Volt (V) 

A unit of measure for the force used to produce an electric current. Named after Count Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electric battery. 

 

Watt (W) 

A unit of measure for electric power. 1 kW = 1,000 Ws. Named after James Watt, an 18th-century inventor and innovator, best remembered for his improvements to the steam engine. 

 

Wattage 

The rate of electric energy used by lights or appliances. 

 

Wind power 

Created when turbines convert the kinetic energy of wind into electricity. We've got some favorite generators-- check out our plan page for details. 

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