211 Maryland Logo


We have provided some websites to give you more information about the term(s).




Access Charges   

Fees charged to telephone customers to recover the costs incurred by the local telephone network to provide local and long distance telephone services to customers.

Actual Reading   

The utility obtains a reading of your electric, natural gas, or water meter by a meter reader person or with a remote meter reading device at your home.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), and Smart Meters

Metering system that records a customer’s consumption, hourly or more frequently (including real time), and provides ability for frequent transmittal of measurements over a communication network to a central collection point and/or to the customer.


A signed written statement that is sworn under penalties of perjury to be true.


A company or person, directly or indirectly, controlled by, or having the same owner, as another company.


A buying group or organization that negotiates prices for a group of customers or a company that purchases a product, such as electricity or gas, on behalf of a group of retail customers. Energy aggregators must be licensed by the Maryland Public Service Commission to do business in Maryland.

Alternate Payment Plan, “Special Agreement”, or “Amortization Agreement” (APP)

An agreement between the utility customer and the utility, for any outstanding account balance to be paid over an agreed upon period of time.

Annual Base         

Twelve months’ actual (or estimated) electricity, gas or water usage history at a customer’s property. The customer can determine yearly utility costs, used by the utility company to calculate “budget billing” plans, and used by OHEP to calculate Energy Assistance benefits.


Person who applies for utility service either verbally, over the telephone, or in writing. This individual is legally responsible for account charges for service or down payments.

Arrearage or “Outstanding Arrearage"

A delinquent account balance owed by a customer for electric, natural gas, or water service; other than for the most current billing cycle usage.

{Back To Top}



Bill Extender Plan

Optional plan available by regulation to customers on fixed incomes to modify the due dates of utility bills. Billing date would come closer to benefit payment dates, to help customer avoid late payment charges.

Billed to Date     

For “Budget Billing” customers, the accumulated dollar amount that has been billed under a budget billing plan.

Billing Cycle        

The regular interval of days used by utilities/suppliers to bill customers for usage. The company tariff will define the billing interval used.

British termal unit (Btu) 

The amount of energy required to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit from 60 to 61 degree at a constant pressure of one atmosphere.  A traditional "kitchen match" has approximately one Btu of energy.


A company, licensed by the Maryland Public Service Commission, who acts as a “middle man” or agent in the buying, and selling of electricity or gas supply – but never owning the electricity or gas, or the generating facilities.

Budget Billing or “Even Monthly Payment” or “Level Monthly Payment”

Budgeting tool used by a utility, which bills customers, a set payment amount each month by dividing a customer’s annual base over 12 months. The set payment amount is subject to change upon comparison of actual usage with set payment amount calculated for the period. The set monthly payment amount may be raised or lowered to avoid a large debit/credit balance in budget billing at the month of settlement.

Bulk Power Market

A market where generators and suppliers of electricity make wholesale purchases and sales of electricity to distribution companies.

Burial Assistance Program

The Burial Assistance Program is available to help with funeral expenses of deceased recipients of DHR/DSS Family Investment program benefits when their families can not afford funeral costs.

{Back To Top}



Centum (100) Cubic Feet (CCF)      

A measurement of gas used in the United States and the United Kingdom representing 100 cubic feet. This is the standard measurement of residential natural gas volume billed.

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity-CPCN

An authorization granted by the Maryland Public Service Commission to a company to build a generating or distribution facility or transmission line. The CPCN may be granted after an evidentiary hearing, public comment hearing, and receipt of recommendations from state agencies and interveners.

Child Care Subsidy or “Purchase of Child Care”-POC-DHR/DSS

Maryland Department of Human Resources and local Department of Social Services program which helps eligible families pay for child care. Vouchers, issued to eligible families by local departments of social services, are used to arrange for care from any regulated child care center or home or from an informal provider approved by the local DSS office.

City Gate

The point in the national natural gas distribution network where local natural gas delivery companies take delivery of natural gas from the interstate transmission pipelines.

Class of Service or “Customer Class”

Categories of electric or natural gas service available to different types of utility customers, such as residential, commercial, industrial etc.

Code of Maryland Regulations-COMAR

The regulations for Maryland state agencies which govern their procedures. Maryland’s utilities are subject to regulation under COMAR TITLE 20.​


The ability of a competitive a telephone local exchange carrier (CLEC) to connect its facilities to facilities owned by an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) within the same structure.


The actual electricity or natural gas that is sold by the utility; or an electricity or gas supplier.

Commodity Charge

The dollar amount of the actual electricity or natural gas delivered to a customer.


The assortment of companies that offer the same commodity or in combination with other products and services to a collection of potential customers, vying for their business by offering different products and price combinations.

Competitive Billing

A service that may be offered for a fee by an electric or gas supplier in place of a utility’s billing for a customer’s service, in addition to the sale of electricity or gas commodity to the customer.

Competitive Local Exchange Carrier-CLEC

A telephone company that competes with the historic established (incumbent) local telephone company to provide local telephone service.

Competitive Transition Charge

A charge on customer’s bills by the utility for the costs of changing their business from a generation and distribution company to a distribution company only, to recover infrastructure costs that otherwise would no longer be recovered from assets that the utilities had to sell as a result of the electric industry restructuring of 1999.


A consumer’s appeal authorized by regulation to the Maryland Public Service Commission under COMAR 20.32 from determinations by the MdPSC’s Office of External Relations.


Two or more adults who occupy the same dwelling unit as their primary domicile, or legal residence within Maryland.


Charges a telephone company bills customers for products or services that the customer never ordered and/or may not have received.

Customer Charge

A fixed monthly charge on all customer billings to cover known fixed and other costs that are not included recovered in the utility’s base rates. The charge includes the cost of meter reading, billing, equipment and service line maintenance and equipment, etc.

Customer Choice

The ability of electricity and natural gas customers to choose an energy supplier other than the regulated utility. The energy supplier must have a license from the Public Service Commission to serve customers in Maryland. The regulated utility continues to provide delivery service under regulated rates and conditions.

Customer of Record

The person receiving energy or water service from a utility for use on the premises. The name of the person in whose name the account is maintained; and who is legally responsible under contract law for the commodity provided.

{Back To Top}



Delivery Charge

The fee for delivery of electricity or natural gas to a customer’s location via the local distribution company’s system of transmission lines or pipes and facilities.


Measurement of the rate at which customers are using electricity at any given moment or averaged over a specific period of time.

Demand Charge (Capacity Charge)

A chage designed to recovered costs associated with operating and maintaining a utility company generating, transmission, and distribution systems.  This charge is assessed even if the customer does not consume the product, as the company bears a cost to have its product available should the customer want service.

Demand Response

Since electricity is priced by time of day, peak, and intermediate and off-peak, customers can receive benefits from adjusting electric usage by time of day. Changes in electric usage by customers from usage during peak to usage during non-peak in response to changes in the price of electricity the utility is charged over time, or to incentive payments designed to lower electricity use at times of high wholesale market prices or when system reliability is jeopardized.

The Maryland agency that in addition to many other programs administers the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in Maryland.

Department of Human Resources-DHR

State agency with low-income household assistance programs which include energy assistance, food stamps, etc.​

Department of Social Services-DSS

Local agencies which administer cash assistance, emergency grants, medical assistance, food assistance, etc. received through DHR.

Deposit or “Security Deposit”

An advanced payment a utility may require from an applicant (or existing customer) to establish (or re-establish) credit by making a cash deposit for the utility to hold to assure payment of a final bill for service. Deposits are regulated by COMAR 20.30.01.


Ending or reducing regulatory control over a business or service – such as utilities. Maryland’s legislature has permitted the introduction of electricity and gas supply competition. Customers are able to choose an energy supplier other than the regulated utility. The regulated utility continues to distribute service. This type of deregulation also is referred to as “restructuring.”


A disagreement between a utility and a customer regarding provision of utility service, disputed bills, billing practices, or terminations of service.   

Disputed Bill

A bill which is the subject of a bona fide controversy between a customer and the utility regarding a billing error including, but not limited to, matters such as errors in computation, failure of the bill to reflect a payment or other credit, and billing for service which the customer alleges was not used or was used by another person.


Local wires, transformers, substations and other equipment used to deliver electricity to end-use consumers from high-voltage transmission lines.

Distribution Charge

The portion of the utility bill for delivering natural gas, electricity or water from the distribution company to your home or business. The charge is regulated by the Maryland Public Service Commission and is usage-based.

Dwelling Unit

A room or rooms suitable for occupancy as a residence containing sanitary or kitchen facilities. 

{Back To Top}




A person 65 years of age or older. Certain protections are set forth in COMAR for elderly customers.

Electric Company

Physically transmits or distributes electricity in the State to a retail electric customer.

Electric Cooperative

An electric company owned by its customers.

Electric Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1999

On April 8, 1999, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening signed into law the Electric Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1999. As a result of this law, Maryland electric customers are now able to choose the supplier or generator of their electric power. The act includes several provisions sought by the state’s utilities and has special exceptions for cooperatives and municipal utilities.

Electric Distribution Charge

Portion of electricity bill that the Local Distribution Company (LDC or electric company) charges for moving electricity from a substation to your home or business through electric facilities it owns regardless of the supplier of the electricity. The charge is usage based and is regulated by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Electric Supplier

A company/group providing electricity that is not the distribution company, which owns or has title to electric generation such as an aggregator or independent power producer.

Electric Supply

Electricity supply is the electricity itself, which is generated in power plants and transmitted across high voltage lines to substations. Electric Supply may be purchased from your electric distribution company (utility) or an alternative Electric Supplier.

Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP)        

A fund established by the Electric Consumer Choice and Competition Act of 1999 to help limited-income consumers meet their electricity costs. The money for the fund is collected from all ratepayers through electricity rates.

Electronic Reading Terminal (ERT)

A remote meter reading device that is attached to meters allowing the utility to read the meter with an electronic device while walking or riding past the property.

Emergency Assistance to Families with Children (EAFC)

Program of DSS which provides emergency cash assistance to families with children who need emergency help paying rent, utilities, or other emergency bills.

Emergency Feeding Organization (EFO)

Agency in each county and Baltimore City which dispenses funds for The Emergency Food Assistance Program.

EmPower MD and EmPower MD Charge

The EmPower Maryland Act is a statewide initiative to reduce the overall per capita electric and gas consumption and demand by 15% by 2015. The cost of developing and delivering energy efficiency programs for electricity and gas customers to support the EmPower Maryland Act is funded by the EmPower MD Charge on each customer’s utility bill.

Energy Allocation System

A computational method of determining the approximate energy use consumed within a dwelling unit with the use of a measuring device.

Energy Conservation

Methodical use of a variety of ways to reduce or control energy consumption by consumers.

Energy Efficiency

Optimizing the design of devices and structures to obtain the most effective operating performance with the least use of energy.

Estimated Bill

A method of approximating a customer’s energy usage using a calculation formula that includes past usage, temperatures, etc to provide utility charges for a period.

EUSP - Arrearage Retirement Funds

A once-in-a-lifetime grant of up to $2,000 that can be used to retire past due electric-only charges.

EUSP Bill Payment Assistance (EUSP BPA)

An energy assistance grant applied as a monthly credit using budget billing and is intended to reduce the amount of the monthly Universal Service Protection Program (USPP) budget billing payment for customers under this program.

{Back To Top}



Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The federal agency that regulates interstate telecommunications, radio, television, wire, satellite and cable services.

Family Investment Administration (FIA)

An agency within the Department of Human Resources charged with implementing the Family Investment Program (FIP) that was created to help families achieve independence through work, personal and family responsibility, and community involvement.

Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)

Agency of the U.S. government tasked with Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery planning.. In some areas of the country, FEMA funds may be used for utility payment emergencies.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Agency of the U.S. Government that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. FERC also regulates natural gas, hydropower projects and wholesale electricity markets.

Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

Estimation made each year of the level of household income that defines the threshold for eligibility for federal financial assistance programs by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Federal Universal Service Fund Surcharge

A surcharge on telephone bills that is used to help pay for telephone or Internet service to people living in rural and other high-cost areas, low-income customers, libraries and schools. A fee billed for local telephone service to customers, which provides funds that are used to reduce high-cost telephone systems, provide low-income assistance, phone service to schools, libraries and rural health providers.

Flex Funds

Program of financial assistance administered by local DSS offices which may use these funds for a variety of client needs.

Food Stamp Program   

A program of the Department of Human Resources operated by the Family Investment Administration to help low-income households buy the food they need for good health. In Maryland, food stamp benefits are accessed through an Electronic Benefits Transfer System. See Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the source of the federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fuel Fund of Maryland

Independent agency in Maryland which provides charitably donated financial resources to vulnerable Maryland families for heat and home utility needs. 

{Back To Top}



Gas Cost Adjustment

Each MD gas distribution company, except Baltimore Gas Electric (BGE), assesses a “gas cost adjustment charge” for the cost of purchased gas on utility bills. It is based on the actual cost of gas. BGE, however, adjusts its gas rate to customers monthly based on market rates. All cumulative adjustment collections from consumers are subject to a formal Maryland Public Service Commission hearing annually, when the adjustment collections are reconciled to actual costs paid by the companies.

Generation (of Electricity)

Electricity is generated in multiple ways. Traditional power plants create electricity through the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas or nuclear energy. Large amounts of electric are generated by hyro-electric facilities and nuclear facilities. Additionally, some electricity is created from renewable sources such as wind, biomass, geo-thermal or solar power. Despite the method of generation the various sources are called electric generation. Every kilowatt of electricity has a unique serial number which identifies the method of generation, this is used in the sale, purchase, and accounting for market and legal tracking.

Generation Charge

Portion of a utility bill which is assessed to every customer for the production of electricity. This charge is not regulated by the Maryland Public Service Commission and depends upon the contract between the customer and the wholesale electricity supplier.

Green Power

Electricity produced using non-carbon burning or nuclear sources, such as renewable wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small and low-impact hydro-power.

Grid or Power Grid

A network of electric generation facilities, wires, and substations that transmit electricity throughout the state, region, or nation.


Someone who pledges that a loan or other type of debt will be paid. Usually, a guarantor agrees to pay or perform another person's debt or duty if that person fail to do so.

{Back To Top}



Handicapped Person

A person who has some condition that markedly restricts their ability to function in life physically, mentally or socially. The PSC regulations provides additional protective restrictions on utility terminations for persons having a disability or handicap as described in COMAR.

Heating Season

The utility defined billing months from November 1st through March 31st every year.

Home-Delivered Meals to Persons with HIV/AIDS

This DHR TEFAP program provides home delivered safely prepared food and nutrition counseling to persons with HIV/AIDS.

Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)

DHR program funds provide limited grants or loans to households with a pending eviction, and in some jurisdictions, support counselors who work with tenants and landlords to prevent evictions.

Housing Counselor Program (HCP)

DHR program operating in five jurisdictions (Baltimore County, Harford County, Montgomery County, Washington County, and Baltimore City), which assists low income families who are homeless, or in imminent danger of becoming homeless, in locating, securing, and maintaining permanent housing.


Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

{Back To Top}



Incandescent Light Bulbs

Pear-shaped glass light bulbs produce light by passing electricity through a wire in a vacuum, causing the wire to glow from the resistance to the flow of electricity through the wire.


A customer’s communication with a utility asking for review of a dispute or request for assistance. 


Interruptible Rate

A special utility rate for customers who allow the utility to reduce or temporarily suspend their utility service, with advance notification, as part of an agreement with their electric supplier. Service interruptions may be due to high demand or high cost periods during supply shortages, and/or during system emergencies.


A telephone call made within a specific region (Local Access and Transportation Area) but outside of the caller’s local calling area. See Regional Toll Call.

Investor-owned Utility

A Utility company owned by private investors and operating a public service.

{Back To Top}



Just and Reasonable Rate

A rate set at the lowest reasonable level to recover a pipeline's cost, as established by the National Gas Act of 1938 and Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978.  It usually means a rate based on the cost to provide service, and is one of the factors used by regulators when determining the total distribution rates customers will pay.

{Back To Top}



Kilowatt (kW)

Equal to 1,000 Watts, measurement of demand for electricity during a preset time (minutes, hours, days or months). For example, a 100-W light bulb that burns for ten hours uses one kW of electricity.

Kilowatt Hour (kWh)

It is the basic unit of measure of electric energy for which electricity consumers are charged in cents per kilowatt-hour.

{Back To Top}



Late Payment Charge (LPC)

A fee assessed to a customer, if their utility bill has not been paid by the due date.

Life Support Equipment

“Life-support equipment" means any electric or gas energy-using device certified by a licensed physician as being essential to prevent, or to provide relief from, a serious illness or to sustain the life of the customer or an occupant of the premises.


The amount of electricity being used at one time by a customer, system or circuit.

Load Management

Reducing the demand on the system by shifting electricity use from periods of higher demand to periods of lower demand.

Load Profile

Record of customer’s electricity usage over a period of time, which shows how much and when a customer uses electricity. These profiles are used by suppliers and transmission system operators to predict supply requirements and to determine the cost of serving a customer.

Local Distribution Company (LDC)

The regulated utility that owns the local wires, transformers, substations and other equipment used to deliver electricity to end-users from high-voltage transmission lines. (See electric company.)

Local Administering Agencies (LAA)

Local political subdivision assistance offices where low-income utility customers apply for energy assistance grants administrated by the Office of Home Energy Programs.

Loop Line/Subscriber Line

For local telephone service, a communications circuit from a switching center or message distribution point to the user terminal.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

U.S Office of Community Services program of the Department of Health and Human Services administered by the states to help low-income utility customers pay their energy bills.

{Back To Top}



Market Power

The ability of a commercial seller or buyer because of their dominant position in the retail market, either individually or in collaboration with other sellers or buyers, to affect the price of a commodity in a specific geographic or product market.


A company licensed by the Public Service Commission that buys and resells electricity, but usually does not own generating facilities.

Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (MCHIP)

This program administered by the Department of Human Resources/Department of Social Services provides full health benefits for children up to age 19, and pregnant women of any age who meet the income guidelines. MCHIP provides care through a variety of Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).

Maryland Energy Administration (MEA)

The State agency which advises the Governor on directions, policies and changes in the various segments of the energy market to maximize energy efficiency while promoting economic development, reducing reliance on foreign energy supplies, and improving the environment.

Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)

A state program administered by the Maryland Department of Human Resources that distributes federal funds for natural gas, oil, electricity and other home heating and cooling bills to limited-income individuals and families. See, LIHEAP above.

Maryland Pharmacy Assistance Program (MPAP)

Program administered by Department of Health and Mental Hygiene which provides help to qualified Maryland residents, regardless of age, who are not eligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program. Eligibility is not limited to the elderly and disabled.

Maryland Office of People’s Counsel (OPC or MOPC)

The Office of People's Counsel is the statutory advocate for Maryland's residential utility rate payers.

Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC or MPSC)

Maryland State agency that regulates electric, natural gas, telephone, privately-owned water/sewage companies and some transportation services. The PSC regulates both residential and commercial services.


A utility customer who has met the income eligibility criteria established by the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) for receipt of an energy assistance grant.

Medicaid or “Medical Assistance” (MA)

Program administered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that pays the medical bills of certain destitute and low-income individuals with Federal and State funds.

{Back To Top}



National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA)

Association of utility consumer advocates offices and agencies in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The members represent the interests of utility ratepayers before state and federal regulators and courts.

Net Energy Meter According to the Explanation

Device measuring the difference between the electricity that is supplied by an electric utility and the electricity that is generated by an eligible customer-generator. If the customer is generating more electric than consumed on the property being served by the utility, the electricity is fed back to the electric company via its distribution lines. Customer is paid for the electric supplied at the retail rate charged by the utility.

New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)

The financial commodities board of trade based in New York City that investors and companies use to trade physical commodities and financial instruments relating to energy, fuels and metals.

{Back To Top}



Office of Adult Services           

Department of Human Resources’ office (Adult Protective Services, In Home Aide Services, Project Home and Social Services to Adults) which address special needs of the elderly and the disabled vulnerable adult.

Office of External Relations (OER)

Division of the Maryland Public Service Commission that investigates consumer complaints such as billing disputes, repair disputes, etc. Some emergency complaints are handled by a “Fast Track Group” that takes calls from consumers who have repair issues, need payment arrangements, or additional extensions on turn off notices.

Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP)

A division of the Department of Human Resources that administers MEAP and EUSP energy assistance programs.


Blocks of time during the 24 hour day and 7 day week indicating periods of high demand and price and low demand and price.

{Back To Top}




Also known as stacking, the name describes the effect of adding on charges as power moves through several transmission systems. It can also mean charges imposed that have over-lapping periods of payment by customers.

Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland LLC Interconnection (PJM)

The non-profit member-owned regional electric transmission organization responsible for maintaining the Mid-Atlantic electricity power grid and wholesale markets. Maryland is part of PJM.


A building or portion of a building, receiving service from a utility for use in a dwelling unit or units.

Price to Compare

The price the regulated regional utility company of electricity or natural gas publically advertises for the actual commodity, which includes a charge for the transmission or distribution of the commodity. Customers can use this price to compare to commodity prices from electric or natural gas suppliers.

Public Assistance to Adults Program (PAA)

Program administered by the Department of Human Resources through local Department of Social Services that provides cash and medical assistance to disabled adults who live in a group living arrangement.

Public Utility Companies Article (PUC)

Statutes governing public utility companies in the State of Maryland in the Annotated Code of Maryland.

{Back To Top}



{Back To Top}




The practice of economic discrimination wherein a person or company attempts to select customers based upon race, geography, economic class or other factors. The ostensible goal of redlining is to capture a group of customers who are good credit risks and exclude customers who are not good credit risks.

Regional Toll Call (IntraLATA calls)

A call made outside the caller’s local calling area and within a specified region or geographic area. Maryland residents can choose their regional toll call provider, just as they can select their long-distance telephone company.

Regional Transmission Organization (RTO)

A member-owned organization of electric transmission owners, electricity users and other entities responsible for coordinating transmission planning, expansion, maintenance, operation and use of electrical transmission lines, and for operation of the wholesale electricity market in the RTO region.

Restrictions on Terminations during “Winter Months”

Regulations in COMAR issued by the PSC, by which an electric/natural gas or electric and natural gas utility may not terminate natural gas or electric service to occupants of residential buildings for nonpayment of bills during the period November 1 through and including March 31 of the immediately succeeding calendar year. Unless the utility first certifies to the Maryland Public Service Commission by an affidavit filed at least 24 hours before the termination. Affidavit must attest that the termination does not constitute a threat to the life or health of the residential occupants. 


Restrictions on Terminations for Elderly or Handicapped Individuals

Regulations in COMAR issued by the OSC, prescribing additional actions that a utility must take upon receiving notice from the customer that he or an occupant of the premises to which the service is going to be terminated is an elderly or handicapped individual. A utility may terminate service to that premises only in accordance with the provisions of this regulation. 


Restrictions on Terminations for Serious Illness and Life-Support Equipment

Regulations in COMAR issued by the PSC governing electric or gas service, or both, whereby service may not be terminated for an initial period of up to 30 days beyond the scheduled date of service termination when the termination will aggravate an existing serious illness or prevent the use of life-support equipment of any occupant of the premises, subject to the provisions of this regulation. Account holders must obtain written doctor certification of the situation and supply the utility company with documentation. 



The partitioning of utilities into separate functions: transmission, distribution, generation and services. Distribution and transmission remained regulated and a monopoly owned by utilities. Generation ownership is either by an affiliate of the utility or a completely independent operator of the generator, and is deregulated and opened up to competition.  

Ring Fencing

The practice of a company creating a legal entity separate from itself in order to protect certain assets. For example, ring fencing may protect assets from taxation, regulation, or allow the company to hide it from creditors. Also intended for the limitation of access to revenue streams of regulated companies by their un-regulated affiliates or parent companies.

{Back To Top}



Shopping Credit

The average price, either on an annual or seasonal basis, that an electric utility will charge a customer for electricity supply including transmission costs. The credit is the price that a customer may use to compare supplier offers when shopping for electricity supply. It also is known as the “price to compare.”

Social Security Administration (SSA)

U.S government agency that administers Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Income, and Federal Retirement Benefits programs.

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

Monthly benefits to a person, and certain family members from the Social Security Administration, if the qualifying individual worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes to the U.S. Treasury. These benefits are based on demonstrated medical evidence that the person is unable to work due to a disability.

Standard Offer Service (SOS)

Electricity supply service that is provided by a regulated regional electric company to an electric customer, who has not selected an alternate electricity supplier.

Subscriber Line

See, Loop Line

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

This program distributes funds to food pantries and food banks for equipment to store food on shelves and in refrigerators and food handling equipment to help feed the poor.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security Administration benefits to people 65yr and older, blind and disabled adults who have little or no income or resources.

{Back To Top}



Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA)

Program of cash assistance administered by Department Human Resources through local Department of Social Services to needy families with dependent children when available resources do not fully address the family's needs and while preparing program participants for independence through work.

Temporary Disability Assistance Payments (TDAP)

Program of financial assistance, formerly called TEMHA, and administered by the Department Human Resources through local Department of Social Services is available to help low-income, disabled Marylanders with no other resources, to obtain cash, medical, and housing assistance. The program is funded through the State of Maryland to provide help to individuals without dependent children. This often is the initial means for support for individuals that have suffered a disability, and covers the 12 month period of eligibility for SSI benefits.

Termination Notice or Turn-Off Notice

A written notice issued by a utility by mail (and/or in person) forewarning that utility service will be terminated if the reason for termination is not cleared up by the expiration date of the Notice. 

See COMAR 20.31.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

State program administered by the Department of Human Resources that distributes federal surplus foods to emergency food pantries, shelters and feeding locations. The program operates in a partnership with local governments and community organizations in all of the State’s 24 jurisdictions.

Therm or British Thermal Unit

One therm is approximately the energy equivalent of burning 100 cubic feet (often referred to as 1 Ccf) of natural gas. Since meters measure volume and not energy content, a therm factor is used by gas companies to convert the volume of gas used to its heat equivalent, and thus calculate the actual energy use.

Time-of-Use Meter (TOU)

A meter that measures electricity consumption during specific periods of time during the day/night and the total.

Time-of-Use Rates (TOU Rates)

Three blocks of rates charged to customers based on when during a 24 hour period the electricity is consumed. Rates are designed to encourage shifting of usage to off-peak periods which have the cheapest rate.

Transmission - Electric Transmission

Electric power transmission or "high voltage electric transmission" is the bulk transfer of electrical energy, from generating plants (historically hydroelectric, nuclear or coal fired but now also wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy) to substations located near to population centers. This is distinct from the local wiring between high voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric distribution. Transmission lines, when interconnected with each other, become high voltage transmission networks. In the US, these are typically referred to as "power grids" or sometimes simply as "the grid".

Transmission - Natural Gas Transmission

The natural gas industry has consisted of three primary activities: exploring for and producing natural gas; transporting the gas from production centers to market regions; and distributing gas to end users. The natural gas transmission segment of the industry includes gathering lines, storage facilities, and pipeline systems. Gathering lines transport gas from producing wells to facilities, where impurities are removed, and to processing plants that separate methane from other types of natural gas. Methane can then be injected into storage or sent through transmission pipelines. Most of the natural gas is transported through interconnected webs of underground pipelines. Individual pipes vary in size from about five feet in diameter to less than an inch. The largest pipes collect gas in producing areas; the smallest pipes deliver gas to individual households.

{Back To Top}



Universal Service

A statutory program to ensure that utility service is available and affordable to all residential customers. Universal telephone service is a federal program, while electric universal service (EUSP) is a Maryland program. The costs of these programs are recovered from all customers of the service.

Utility Service Protection Program (USPP)

Maryland Energy Assistance Program-eligible customers may participate in USPP, which requires the participant to be on an “even monthly payment plan,” also known as budget billing or level billing. The program is intended to assist low-income households in avoiding utility service terminations by changing from actual monthly billing to an average monthly payment schedule, based on annual usage. Customers apply on the OHEP application. 


{Back To Top}



{Back To Top}




Measurement of electricity needed to power a device – such as “60-Watt bulb”, or the amount of energy used by the device in one hour of operation.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Program of the Department of Housing and Community Development, which assists limited income families with reducing their energy usage by performing an energy audit. Then conservation measures may be taken that may include (but not limited to) health & safety items; hot water system improvements; lighting retrofit; air infiltration reduction; insulation installation in attics, floors, walls, furnace cleaning/tune ups and safety repairs, burner retrofits or replacement, door and window replacements for double insulated windows.

Welfare Avoidance Grant (WAG)

Some families needing only short-term financial assistance may receive a welfare avoidance grant equivalent to three months of TCA benefits. The welfare avoidance grant is provided as a one-time lump sum payment.

Wheeling Transmission

Describes the act of transmitting power produced by a generator over transmission lines, or the act of providing the service of transporting electric power between a generator and a distribution company.

{Back To Top}



{Back To Top}



{Back To Top}



{Back To Top}