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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An electric utility is a company (often a public utility) that engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale generally in a regulated market. The electrical utility industry is a major provider of energy in most countries. It is indispensable to factories, commercial establishments, homes, and even most recreational facilities. Lack of electricity causes not only inconvenience, but also economic loss due to reduced industrial production.

Electric utilities include investor owned, publicly owned, cooperatives, and nationalized entities. They may be engaged in all or only some aspects of the industry. Electricity markets are also considered electric utilities--these entities buy and sell electricity, acting as brokers, but usually do not own or operate generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Utilities are regulated by local and national authorities.

Contents

Organization

Utility service territories are typically geographically distinct from one another. These territories may be set by regulation or by economics as the capital cost of reproducing infrastructure is usually prohibitive. Each territory is composed of different types of consumers, usually broadly described as either commercial, residential or industrial.

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Tariff structure

Electricity consumers are divided into classes of service or sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and other) based on the type of service they receive. Sectoral classification of consumers is determined by each utility and is based on various criteria such as:

  • demand levels
  • rate schedules
  • distribution voltage
  • accounting methods
  • end-use applications
  • other social and economic characteristics

Utilities typically employ a number of tariffs. The alternative tariffs reflect consumers' varying consumption levels and patterns and the associated impact on the utility's costs of providing the service.

Power Transactions

An electric power system is a group of generation, transmission, distribution, communication, and other facilities that are physically connected. The flow of electricity with the system is maintained and controlled by dispatch centers. It is the responsibility of the dispatch center to match the supply of electricity with the demand. In order to carry out its responsibilities, the dispatch center is authorized to buy and sell electricity based on system requirements. The interconnected utilities within each power grid coordinate operations and may buy and sell power among themselves. The bulk power system makes it possible for utilities to engage in wholesale (for resale) electric power trade. Wholesale trade has historically played an important role, allowing utilities to reduce power costs, increase power supply options, and improve reliability. Authority for those transactions has been pre-approved under interconnection agreements signed by all the electric utilities physically interconnected or with coordination agreements among utilities that are not connected.

See also

References


An electric utility is a company (often a public utility) that engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale generally in a regulated market. The electrical utility industry is a major provider of energy in most countries. It is indispensable to factories, commercial establishments, homes, and even most recreational facilities. Lack of electricity causes not only inconvenience, but also economic loss due to reduced industrial production.

Electric utilities include investor owned, publicly owned, cooperatives, and nationalized entities. They may be engaged in all or only some aspects of the industry. Electricity markets are also considered electric utilities--these entities buy and sell electricity, acting as brokers, but usually do not own or operate generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Utilities are regulated by local and national authorities.

Electric utilities are facing increasing demands [1] according to the fourth annual “Strategic Directions in the Electric Utility Industry Survey” [2] for 2009/2010 from Black & Veatch. Based on input from 329 utility industry participants, maintaining reliable service, regulation and long-term investments were identified as the top-three concerns[3] for electric utilities in 2010. [4]

Contents

Organization

Utility service territories are typically geographically distinct from one another. These territories may be set by regulation or by economics as the capital cost of reproducing infrastructure is usually prohibitive. Each territory is composed of different types of consumers, usually broadly described as either commercial, residential or industrial.

Tariff structure

Electricity consumers are divided into classes of service or sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and other) based on the type of service they receive. Sectoral classification of consumers is determined by each utility and is based on various criteria such as:

  • demand levels
  • rate schedules
  • distribution voltage
  • accounting methods
  • end-use applications
  • other social and economic characteristics

Utilities typically employ a number of tariffs. The alternative tariffs reflect consumers' varying consumption levels and patterns and the associated impact on the utility's costs of providing the service.

Power Transactions

An electric power system is a group of generation, transmission, distribution, communication, and other facilities that are physically connected. The flow of electricity with the system is maintained and controlled by dispatch centers. It is the responsibility of the dispatch center to match the supply of electricity with the demand. In order to carry out its responsibilities, the dispatch center is authorized to buy and sell electricity based on system requirements. The interconnected utilities within each power grid coordinate operations and may buy and sell power among themselves. The bulk power system makes it possible for utilities to engage in wholesale (for resale) electric power trade. Wholesale trade has historically played an important role, allowing utilities to reduce power costs, increase power supply options, and improve reliability. Authority for those transactions has been pre-approved under interconnection agreements signed by all the electric utilities physically interconnected or with coordination agreements among utilities that are not connected.

Renewable electricity

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act is a law, passed in 1978 by the United States Congress as part of the National Energy Act. It is meant to promote greater use of renewable energy. The Support Renewable Energy Act of 2010 (Bill S.3021/111th Congress) amends the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to authorize the Secretary of Energy to promulgate regulations to allow electric utilities to use renewable energy to comply with any Federal renewable electricity standard. [5]

See also

References

  1. ^ By Candace Lombardi, CNET. “Utilities: Green tech good for planet, bad for business.” February 23, 2010.
  2. ^ Company survey results. “2009/2010 Electric Utility Industry Survey Results.” February 22, 2010.
  3. ^ Environmental Protection Online. “U.S. Electric Utility Survey Reflects Impact of Uncertainty.” February 23, 2010.
  4. ^ By Heather Clancey, ZDNet. “Survey: Utilities believe nuclear, wind have most potential to serve environmental needs.” February 22, 2010.
  5. ^ http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s3021/text

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