Glossary of Terms

Acacia makes energy easy
Acacia Energy realizes that technical energy lingo can sometimes fly over our customers’ heads. Below is a helpful glossary of some of these common terms:

AMS
Advanced Metering Systems (AMS) (also called Smart Meters) is leading-edge technology spreading across Texas that is able to capture your electrical usage in 15-minute intervals and to communicate that usage back to our Acacia Energy team.

Advanced Metering Charge
A charge assessed to recover a TDU’s charges for Advanced Metering Systems, to the extent that they are not recovered in a TDU’s standard metering charge.

Affiliate Electricity Provider
The affiliate electricity provider was part of the original electric company that generated and sold electricity in your area. Now, the affiliate electricity provider only sells electricity and provides customer service.

Aggregator
An entity registered with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) that brings together a group of customers to buy electricity in bulk.

Average Payment Plan
An agreement worked out between an Electricity Provider such as Acacia Energy and their customer that allows you to pay approximately the same amount for your electric service each month. All Electricity Providers are required by the PUC to offer average payment plans.

Balancing Surcharge (AKA “Demand Charge”)
A charge based on the rate at which electric energy is delivered to or by a system at a given instant, or averaged over a designated period, during the billing cycle.

Base Charge
A charge assessed during each billing cycle without regard to the customer’s demand or energy consumption. This is typically assigned to a Smart Meter “pay-as-you-go” plan on a daily basis.

City-Owned Utility
A non-profit utility that is owned and operated by the city it serves. In Texas, city-owned utilities may opt into the competitive retail electric marketplace. See also “Municipally Owned Utility.”

Commercial Customer
One of three commonly used designations for classes of customers. The others are residential and industrial. Commercial customers are not involved in manufacturing.

Competition Transition Charge
A charge assessed to recover a TDU’s charges for nonsecuritized costs associated with the transition to competition.

Competitive Electricity Provider
An electricity provider that is certified by the PUC and competes for your business by offering lower prices, renewable energy options, added customer service benefits or other incentives. Acacia Energy would be considered a competitive electricity provider.

Credit Check
A credit check is procedure that energy providers generally perform to determine a prospective customer’s credit score.

Credit Score
A number or score representing the creditworthiness of a person, the likelihood that person will pay his or her debts.

Deregulation
Removal or relaxation of regulations or controls governing a business or service operation, like utilities. This creates a more competitive environment and can help drive down prices.

Electricity Provider
A electricity provider that is certified by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and competes for your business by offering lower prices, renewable energy options, added customer service benefits or other incentives. Acacia Energy would be considered a electricity provider.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
The corporation that administers and maintains the reliability of the state’s electrical power grid. When you choose a new electricity provider, this group will send you a postcard confirming your switch from one electricity provider to another. This group works independently of Acacia Energy.

Electricity Facts Label
An information sheet required by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) that provides customers with standardized information on a retail electric provider’s prices, contracts, sources of power generation and emissions. It allows customers to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison of electric provider offers. Acacia Energy’s Electricity Facts Labels for all available plans can be found on the residential service page.

Energy Charge
A charge based on the electric energy (kWh) consumed.

Energy Efficiency Cost Recovery Factor
A charge assessed to recover a TDU’s costs for energy efficiency programs, to the extent that the TDU charge is a separate charge exclusively for that purpose that is approved by the Public Utility Commission. Acceptable abbreviation: Energy Efficiency.

Energy Surcharge
A charge assessed during each billing cycle without regard to the customer’s demand or energy consumption. This is also known as “Summer Energy Surcharge” and can be applied during the summer months (June-August) to account to high energy costs associated with servicing the customer’s meter.

Estimated Usage Charges
The estimated amount of kWh that the invoiced service period is based on.

Fuel Factor
An affiliate electricity provider is allowed to recover its costs for the fuel used to generate electricity, such as coal, natural gas, wind, water, nuclear, through the fuel factor. This cost is set by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and charged on each customer’s bill, based on kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage.

Generation
The production of electricity. In Texas, electricity is produced by a variety of methods, including natural gas, coal, nuclear power, wind, water and solar energy.

Industrial Customer
One of three commonly used classes of customers. The others are commercial and residential. Industrial customers typically have the highest demand for electricity. Examples of industrial customers are factories or manufacturing plants.

kW
Kilowatt, the standard unit for measuring electricity demand, equal to 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)
A unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (kW) of power expended for one hour of time. The amount of electricity you use each billing period is expressed in terms of a kilowatt-hour and is noted on your bill.

Late Payment Penalty
A charge assessed for late payment in accordance with Public Utility Commission rules. Displayed on Customer Invoice as “Late fee.”

Local Wires Company
The company that transmits and delivers electricity to a customer’s home or business along the poles and wires (formerly a local electric utility). This company is still responsible for maintenance and repair of these poles and wires and will respond to emergency power outages. Also known as the Transmission & Distribution Service Provider or simple as the Utility.

Meter Charge
A charge assessed to recover a TDU’s charges for metering a customer’s consumption, to the extent that the TDU charge is a separate charge exclusively for that purpose that is approved by the Public Utility Commission.

Miscellaneous Gross Receipts Tax Reimbursement
A fee assessed to recover the miscellaneous gross receipts tax imposed on retail electric providers operating in an incorporated city or town having a population of more than 1,000.

Monthly Account Fee
A charge assessed during each billing cycle without regard to the customer’s demand or energy consumption.

Monthly Customer Charge
A charge assessed during each billing cycle without regard to the customer’s demand or energy consumption.

Municipally Owned Utility (“Muni”)
A non-profit utility that is owned and operated by the municipality it serves. In Texas, municipally owned utilities may opt into the competitive retail electric marketplace. See also “City-Owned Utility.”

Nuclear Decommissioning Fee
A charge assessed to recover a TDU’s charges for decommissioning of nuclear generating sites. Acceptable abbreviation: Nuclear Decommission.

Pay as You Go Electricity Plan
A prepaid electric plan that allows people with poor credit to purchase their energy without deposit, credit check or long-term contract. Pay As You Go (or Prepaid) electric plans allows you to buy only as much as need for the month.

Peak Demand
The highest 15- or 30-minute demand recorded during a 12-month period.

Prepaid Electric Plan
An electric plan that allows people with poor credit to purchase their energy without deposit, credit check or long-term contract. Prepaid plans allows you to buy only as much as need for the month. (Also called Pay As You Go Electricity Plans).

Provider of Last Resort
The Provider of Last Resort serves as the “back-up” provider when an electric company leaves the market for any reason. If this happens, customers may switch back to the affiliate electricity provider or choose another competitive electricity provider offering electric service in their area.

PUC Assessment
A fee assessed to recover the statutory fee for administering the Public Utility Regulatory Act.

Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas
The state agency that is responsible for the regulation and oversight of electric and local telecommunication services in Texas. Under electric choice, the PUC regulates the delivery of electricity and enforces customer protections.

Renewable Energy
Electricity that is made from “environmentally friendly” fuel resources, such as wind, water, biomass or solar. It is sometimes referred to as “green” energy. Information on an electric company’s generation sources can be found on its electricity facts label.

Residential Customer
One of three commonly used customer classes. The other two are commercial and industrial. Residential customers include private households that utilize energy for such needs as heating, cooling, cooking, lighting and small appliances.

Restructuring
The reorganization of monopoly electric service to allow operations and charges to be separated or “unbundled” into generation, transmission and distribution, and retail services. This allowed customers to buy retail electric service from competing providers.

Retail Electric Provider
A company that sells electricity to customers. All retail electric providers must be certified to do business by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Rural Electric Cooperative (Co-op)
A customer-owned electric utility that distributes electricity to members and that receives lower-cost financing through the federal government. In Texas, co-ops can choose to opt into the competitive retail market.

Sales Tax “Taxes”
Sales tax collected by authorized taxing authorities, such as the state, cities and special purpose districts. This will be abbreviated on the invoice as “taxes.”

Smart Meters
Smart Meters are leading-edge technology spreading across Texas which can capture your electrical usage in 15-minute intervals and communicate that usage back to our Acacia Energy team. Unlike old-fashioned electric meters that only measure total consumption, today’s Smart Meters show when the energy was actually consumed. These smart meters help to accurate calculate the prepaid electric rate for our Pay As You Go Electricity plans.

Smart Meter Plan
An electric plan that allows people with poor credit to purchase their energy without deposit, credit check or long-term contract. Smart Meter (or Prepaid) plans allows you to buy only as much as need for the month.

System Benefit Fund
A non-bypassable charge approved by the Public Utility Commission, not to exceed 65 cents per megawatt-hour, that funds the low-income discount, one-time bill payment assistance, customer education, commission administrative expenses, and low-income energy efficiency programs.

TDU Delivery Charges
The total amounts assessed by a TDU for the delivery of electricity to a customer over poles and wires and other TDU facilities not including discretionary charges.

Terms of Service
A contract between an electric company and a customer that outlines fees, length of service and other important information. Acacia Energy’s Terms of Service documents for all available plans can be found on the residential service page.

Transition Charge
A charge assessed to recover a TDU’s charges for securitized costs associated with the transition to competition.

Transmission and Distribution
The actual delivery of electricity over poles and wires to your home or business. These services are provided to you by your Transmission & Distribution Service Provider, which is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires, and responding to emergencies and power outages as always. Acacia is not involved in transmission or distribution.

Transmission Distribution Surcharges
One or more TDU surcharge(s) on a customer’s bill in any combination. Surcharges include charges billed as tariff riders by the TDU. Abbreviation: TDU Surcharges

Usage
This is the amount of electricity you used during the billing period listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This will be listed on your electric bill as kWh used.

Utility
The actual entity responsible for the delivery of electricity over poles and wires to your home or business.

Your Rights As a Customer Disclosure
A document that informs you of your rights as mandated by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). Acacia Energy provides both our prepaid electric and fixed rate plan customers with this disclosure.