Read definitions of common energy terms

Adyl-A pipe: A specific type of plastic pipe made by DuPont


Anode: Part of a system to protect steel pipe from corrosion


Balanced energy mix: Combines clean and renewable energy sources with traditional sources


Breaker: An electric switch designed to interrupt flow of electricity to prevent damage in the event of abnormal conditions 


CAISO: California Independent System Operation, which operates much of the state’s grid

Campaign for the Community: PG&E’s flagship program where employees donate directly to nonprofits 

Capacity: Amount of service for which a system or system component is rated 


Capital projects: Investments in PG&E’s infrastructure 


Clean Energy: Energy from sources that help reduce our environmental impact  


Combined cycle: The combination of a gas turbine and a steam turbine in an electric generating plant  


Conductor: The wire cable strung between transmission towers or distribution poles through which current flows 


Circuit: A conductor or system of conductors that provide a path through which electric current flows 


Demand Response: Demand Response programs offer incentives to businesses who reduce the energy use of their facilities during times of peak demand 


Dig-in: When PG&E underground utility line is damaged by digging activity 


Distributed Energy Resources (DERs): Clean energy resources such as private solar and battery storage that are connected to the energy grid 


Distribution Planning Area: A subdivision of a Division’s electric system used by local planning engineers 


Division: A defined geographic boundary within PG&E’s service area. PG&E has 19 divisions


ECDA: External corrosion direct assessment, a method of assessing natural gas pipeline integrity  


Energy delivery charge: The cost to deliver energy to your home or business


Energy efficiency: A catch-all term for programs designed to minimize total energy consumption


Energy infrastructure: The network of pipes or wires that connect customers to their energy source


FLISR: Fault Location, Isolation and Service Restoration. Self-restoring equipment that reduces outage duration and the number of customers affected by electric outage


Franchise fees: A percent of gross receipts that PG&E pays cities and counties for the right to use public streets to run gas and electric service  


Gas services: Pipelines that are fed from mains, these usually extend from the street to the customer meter 


Gigawatt-hours (GWh): A GWh is equivalent to 1 million kWh 


High-pressure regulator: A mechanism to control natural gas pipeline pressure


Hydroelectric: Electric power generated by moving water 


Hydrotesting: A test where a natural gas pipe is pressurized with water beyond a level it will ever operate in order to test the safe operating pressure of the pipeline  


In-line inspection (pigging): A pipeline inspection method where an inspection gauge or “pig” is inserted into the pipe and pushed through the pipe under inspection 


Interconnection: The term used when a customer’s solar equipment is connected to the PG&E energy grid 


Kilovolt (kV): Volt is a measure of electric potential or force; a kV is 1,000 volts 


Kilowatt (kW): 1,000 watts Kilowatt-hours (kWh): A measure of electric energy consumption where one kilowatt of power used for one hour. A kWh is 1,000 watt-hours 


Main: A larger diameter pipe that transports natural gas through a city and is typically located in streets and sidewalks


Megawatt (MW): 1 million watts or 1,000 kilowatts 


Net Energy Metering: A system that allows private solar customers to sell back excess energy produced by their solar system to the energy company 


Picarro Surveyor: A car-mounted leak-detection technology used in the gas industry to identify gas leaks 


Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan: A five-year plan to verify and upgrade PG&E’s natural gas transmission pipeline integrity  


Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV or EV): A vehicle that can be plugged into an electrical outlet or charging device to recharge its battery. PEVs are a subset of electric vehicles, a general term for vehicles that use electricity to generate movement 


Power capacity: The maximum amount of electricity a power plant can produce at any point in time 


PowerPathway: PG&E’s training program aimed at developing the next generation of the energy industry workforce  


Private Solar: Solar system installed by a customer at their home or business  


Reconductor: Upgrade the existing wire or cable to carry more electricity


Regulator station: Facilities that control pressure in distribution channels 


Regulatory rate review: A public process where independent state commissions determine energy rates 


Renewable Energy: Energy produced entirely from natural resources, like solar, wind, and hydropower, which are constantly replenished (note: Hydropower does not count towards California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) 


Rule 20A: Replacement of existing overhead electric facilities with underground electric facilities

Smart Grid: An efficient, electric network with integrated advanced controls and technologies 


Substation: An electric power station that switches, changes or regulates voltage in the electric system 


Targeted circuit: A circuit identified in PG&E’s Target Circuit Initiative to be upgraded


Therms: An amount of thermal energy equal to 100,000 British thermal units (Btus)


Transformer: Device that changes the voltage of alternating current electricity


Transmission: The network of pipes or wires that transport energy from generators to the distribution system 


Universal Solar: Large, utility-scale solar systems that delivers clean electricity to the energy grid, which all customers benefit from 


Valve: A device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of natural gas through a pipeline


Variable sources: Energy sources that only produce power in certain conditions


Watt: A unit of electric power 


Your Account: PG&E’s online resource for customers where they can learn more about their monthly energy usage and explore easy ways to save energy


Zero Net Energy (ZNE):  Zero Net Energy refers to homes or buildings that are built to produce as much clean energy as used during a year through a combination of energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy generation