• B2B

    Business to Business

  • B2C

    Business to Consumer

  • B2E

    Business to Employee

  • Back-Stopping

    Arranging for alternate supplies of gas in the event a user's primary source fails to be delivered.

  • Back-up Power

    Power provided by terms of the contract to a customer when normal source is unavailable.

  • Backfill

    A term used in surface mining to reflect the practice of placing overburden behind the location where the coal seam has been removed, typically using a long reach dragline. The intent is to move the overburden as little as possible to reduce costs. .

  • Backhaul

    A "paper transport" of natural gas by displacement against the flow on a single pipeline, so that the natural gas is redelivered upstream of its point of receipt. See also DISPLACEMENT.

  • Backup Supply Service

    Capacity and energy provided to a transmission customer to replace the loss of its generation sources and to cover that portion of demand that exceeds the generation supply.

  • Backwardation

    In the context of futures trading, a market condition in which futures prices are gradually lowered in the future months of delivery.

  • Balancing

    Equalizing the volumes of gas withdrawn from a pipeline system with the volumes of gas injected into the pipeline. Penalties may be assessed for transportation imbalances beyond specified tolerances.

  • Balancing Account

    A regulatory convention in which costs and revenues associated with certain utility expenses (e.g., fuel) are accumulated but on which no return is earned.

  • Bandwidth

    Space or capacity on a communications network. Marketing bandwidth is a rapidly growing business since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 effectively eliminated the barriers to competition among long distance, local exchange and cable service providers.

  • Banking

    Energy delivered or received by a utility with intent to return it in the future.

  • Barrel

    A volumetric unit of measure for crude oil and petroleum products equivalent to 42 US gallons.

  • Base Load

    The minimum amount of electric power or natural gas delivered or required over a given period of time at a steady rate. The minimum continuous load or demand in a power system over a given period of time usually not temperature sensitive.

  • Base Load Capacity

    The generating equipment normally operated to serve loads on an around-the-clock basis.

  • Base Load Plant

    A plant which is normally operated to take all or part of the minimum continuous load of a system, and which consequently produces electricity at an essentially constant rate. These plants are operated to maximize system mechanical and thermal efficiency and minimize system operating costs. A base load plant is typically characterized by relatively high fixed costs and low unit operating costs. Traditionally, coal and nuclear plants and some high efficiency steam electric plants have been considered as base load plants.

  • Base Load Unit/Station

    Generating unit designed for run at or near full capacity on a nearly continuous basis.

  • Base Rate

    A charge normally set through rate proceedings by appropriate regulatory agencies and fixed until reviewed at future proceedings. It is calculated through multiplication of the rate from the appropriate electric rate schedule by the level of consumption. It does not include components that may vary from billing cycle to billing cycle, such as fuel.

  • Basis

    The difference between the spot or cash price of a financial instrument or commodity and the price of the futures contract or a related derivative instrument. A seller is "short of the basis" if selling spot goods hedged by the purchases of futures. Someone who is "long of the basis" has bought spot goods and hedged them by the sale of futures. A basis point is one percent of one percent.

  • Basis

    In the context of futures trading, the difference between the futures price for a given commodity and the comparable cash or spot price for the commodity.

  • Basis Swap

    A basis swap involves swapping one floating rate index for another. An interest rate swap in which payments are on a different floating-rate basis, e.g., three-month versus six-month. Also known as a floating/floating swap. A basis swap enables the user to lock in a differential between two grades, two product types, or two locations of a commodity. This tool is used to fine-tune energy price risk management. (A swap on the differential between a petroleum product and crude oil is often referred to as a "crack spread" swap.)

  • Bcf

    The abbreviation for 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

  • Best Efforts Service

    Service offered to customers under rate schedules or contracts that anticipate and permit some interruption on short notice, generally in peak-load seasons, by reason of the claims of firm service customers.

  • Bid

    An offer to pay an asking price in an over -the-counter or commodity market. It is the average price of those people recently willing to purchase. Bid is the purchase price and asked is the selling or offer price.

  • Bid-Offer Spread

    The fixed rate at which a dealer will take either the pay- or the receive-fixed side of a swap transaction.

  • Bidding Shipper

    A natural gas shipper bidding for capacity released by a firm capacity holder.

  • Bilateral Contract

    A direct contract between the power producer and user or broker outside of a centralized power pool or POOLCO.

  • Billing Cycle

    The regular periodic interval used by a utility for reading the meters of a customer for billing purposes. Usually meters are scheduled to be read monthly or bimonthly.

  • Billing Demand

    The demand charge that a customer actually pays for the reservation of capacity or facilities used, regardless of consumption. Billing demand may be based on a contract maximum, a contract minimum, or a previous peak or maximum demand and, therefore, may not necessarily coincide with the actual measured demand for the billing period. Also referred to as Ratchet, or Ratcheted Demand Charge.

  • Biomass Conversion

    The process by which organic materials, such as wood waste or garbage, are burned for direct energy or electrical generation, or by which these materials are converted to synthetic natural gas.

  • Bituminous Coal

    Older geologic age than subbituminous coal, with higher heating value, lower sulfur, typically higher volatile matter and ash than subbituminous coal. Used for both steam and electricity production, as well as for production of steel. Metallurgical coal is typically bituminous coal, with a free swelling index of over 4.5 and with "dial divisions per minute" (a measure of "fluidity") of over 1,500 and sometimes over 20,000. Heating value of bituminous coal typically ranges from 10,000 to 13,000 Btu/lb.

  • Black Start

    A rapid start up of an off line, idle, non-spinning electric generation source. Equivalent to the starting up of a car after it has not been used for a while.

  • Blackout

    The emergency loss of the source of electricity serving an area caused by failure of the generation, transmission, or distribution system.

  • Blanket Certificate (Authority)

    General authorization granted by the FERC under NGA section 7 (c) for the recipient to engage in a FERC jurisdictional activity, such as transportation or sales of natural gas, on behalf of a general class of potential customers, without individual case-by-case review and approval.

  • Blanket Sales Certificate

    The authorization granted to pipelines and/or their marketing affiliates, as well as other sellers, to sell natural gas for resale at market-based prices.

  • Blowdown

    Releasing of pressure by rapid venting in a tank, pipeline, or refinery unit.

  • Boiler

    A device for generating steam for power, processing, or heating purposes or for producing hot water for heating purposes or hot water supply. Heat from an electrical combustion source is transmitted to a fluid contained within the tubes in the boiler shell. This fluid is delivered to an end-user at a desired pressure, temperature, and quality. Boilers are often classified as steam or hot water, low pressure or high pressure, capable of burning one fuel or a number of fuels.

  • Boiler Fuel

    Fuels suitable for generating steam or hot water in large industrial or electrical generating utility applications.

  • Boiler Fuel Gas

    Natural gas used as fuel for the generation of steam or hot water.

  • Book Cost

    The amount at which property or assets are recorded in a company's accounts without deducting depreciation, amortization, or various other items.

  • Book Transfer

    Transfer of title without a physical movement.

  • Bottleneck Facility

    A point on the system, such as a transmission line, through which all electricity must pass to get to its intended buyers. If there is limited capacity at this point, some priorities must be developed to decide whose power gets through. It also must be decided if the owner of the bottleneck may, or must, build additional facilities to relieve the constraint.

  • BPA

    Bonneville Power Administration. A power marketing and electric transmission agency of the United States government with headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

  • British Thermal Unit (BTU)

    The amount of heat energy necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

  • British Thermal Unit (Btu), Dry

    A measure of the heating value of natural gas that is free of moisture, or contains less that 7 pounds per Mcf of water vapor. Condition under which natural gas is usually delivered for first sales.

  • British Thermal Unit (Btu), Saturated

    A measure of the heating value of natural gas that is fully saturated with water vapor under standard temperature, pressure and gravity conditions. This standard of measure usually has little or nothing to do with the state in which the natural gas is actually delivered for first sales.

  • Broker

    A third party that earns a profit by establishing a transaction between a willing Seller and Purchaser without ever taking ownership.

  • Brownout

    The partial reduction of electrical voltages caused by customer demand being higher than anticipated or by the failure of the generation, transmission, or distribution system. A brownout results in lights dimming and motor-driven devices slowing down.

  • Bubble Point

    The temperature and pressure at which a liquid begins to convert to a gas.

  • Bulge

    A rapid increase in futures prices.

  • Bulk Electric System

    The aggregate of electric generating plants, transmission lines, and related equipment. The term may refer to those facilities within one electric utility or within a group of utilities in which the transmission lines are interconnected.

  • Bulk Power System

    A term describing all electric generating plants, transmission lines, and equipment. See Bulk Electric System.

  • Bundled Sales Service

    The sale and/or transportation of natural gas or electricity under one rate, which does not differentiate separate rate components for the sale, transportation, storage or gathering services associated with such sale or transportation.

  • Burner Capacity (Burner Rating)

    The maximum Btu per hour that can be released by a burner while burning with a stable flame and satisfactory combustion.

  • Burner Tip

    The end of the transportation of natural gas from the wellhead, and the point of consumption.

  • Busbar

    The point at which power is available for transmission. A conductor, or group of conductors, that serve as a common connection for two or more circuits, generally in the form of insulated cable, rigid rectangular or round bars, or stranded overhead cables held under tension. The equivalent, in electric power terms, of the gas plant tailgate.

  • Busbar Cost

    The cost of producing one kWh of electricity delivered to, but not through, the transmission system.

  • Butane (C4H10)

    A hydrocarbon substance consisting of molecules composed of four atoms of carbon and ten atoms of hydrogen, used primarily for blending in high-octane gasoline, for residential and commercial heating, and in manufacture of chemicals and synthetic rubber.

  • Butylene (C4H8)

    A hydrocarbon substance consisting of molecules composed of four atoms of carbon and eight atoms of hydrogen, used primarily for blending in high-octane gasoline, for residential and commercial heating, and in manufacture of chemicals and synthetic rubber.

  • Buy/Sell

    An arrangement whereby a party sells gas at the wellhead to a party with priority space in the pipeline queue, and then repurchases the gas downstream, paying transmission costs and any prearranged differentials.

  • Buy Through

    An agreement between utility and customer to import power when the customer's service would otherwise be interrupted.

  • Buyout

    A swap is closed and settled at current price.

  • Bypass

    The action of a retail customer to obtain power or natural gas directly from a wholesale supplier or transporter, thus eliminating any utility charges applicable to distribution. This term is also sometimes applied when an end-user closes down operations, installs alternate fuel capability, or moves its operations to the service area of another natural gas supplier, thereby curtailing its purchases from its traditional supplier.