Residential

Glossary

The glossary is a list of terms and definitions found on your monthly Midwest Energy bill. 

Billing Demand
For electric meters, the demand level used to calculate bills (kW, kVA, or Horsepower). It may differ from the actual monthly demand reading as provided in the rate schedule. If the billing demand is zero, as with residential accounts, it means there is no separate demand charge.
BTU (British Thermal Units)
A BTU is the amount of thermal energy required to raise the temperature of one (1) pound of water by one (1) degree Fahrenheit. An MMBTU is equal to one (1) million BTU's.
Cost of Gas (COG)
The total of actual wholesale gas costs, upstream interstate pipeline charges, and adjustments to true up prior period over-collections or under-collections, supplier refunds, etc. The intent of the COG is to flow through exactly the amount paid for gas in the wholesale markets over time. However, the effect of the adjustments usually results in a current month cost that is above or below the actual wholesale market.
Customer Charge
A fixed amount to be paid without regard to instantaneous demand or total energy used in the month. In theory the customer charge should cover costs directly related to serving a customer regardless of sales volume. Some costs included are meter costs, meter reading, yard lines and pressure regulators (for gas), transformers and service drops (for electric), maintenance of meters, regulators, transformers and service drops, billing, customer service, etc. In reality, the customer charge does not cover all of these costs, so the remainder is included in the delivery charge.
Distribution
A portion of electric delivery charges for the local movement of power. Midwest Energy includes costs of its lines and substations that operate below 34,000 volts in this category. Other costs of operating the electric utility are included here because many customer specific fixed costs are not fully covered by the "customer charge". In this sense, the term distribution really means "distribution and local service".
Electric Delivery Charges
Midwest Energy charges for moving electrical power from the point of connection on the Midwest Energy grid to the customer's premise as well as ancillary charges associated with power delivery. These charges include both the bulk, high voltage movement of power (transmission) as well as the local delivery (distribution).
Energy Charge
The expected cost of wholesale power purchased by Midwest Energy for wholesale power suppliers on behalf of its customers. When this charge is different than the average actual cost for power paid to the wholesale suppliers, the Energy Cost Adjustment acts as a correction factor to ensure that Midwest Energy collects no more than it actually pays for wholesale power over time.
Energy Cost Adjustment (ECA)
The difference between the actual costs for wholesale power purchased by Midwest Energy on behalf of its customers and the Production Charges in rates. The ECA includes any true-up amounts from prior periods if Midwest collected either more or less than it actually paid for wholesale power. The purpose of the ECA is to ensure that Midwest Energy collects no more and no less than the actual cost of wholesale power over time. However, the effect of the ECA in any given month is to make the total Production Charges either slightly more or slightly less than actual wholesale power costs. In addition, the ECA will include any costs for fuel used to power Midwest Energy-owned generation plants.
Gas Open Access
A situation where natural gas producers (or marketers) are allowed to sell their production directly to retail customers while depending on the local utility to provide the actual delivery of the gas. Gas Open Access is not currently permitted in Kansas for residential customers.
Horsepower Charge
An instantaneous measure of electric demand equal to 0.8285 kW. Midwest Energy uses this measurement only for electric irrigation customers.
Kilovolt-ampere (kVA)
An instantaneous measure of electric demand equal to one thousand volt-amperes. When voltage and amperage are perfectly in phase, kVA demand will equal kW demand. Electric loads that generate a magnetic field (motors, lighting ballasts, etc.) cause the current to lag voltage, lowering the power factor and increasing amp draw to accomplish the same work. Large commercial, oil field and industrial customers can correct this problem by installing capacitors.
Kilowatt (kW)
One thousand watts, measured instantaneously. (See definition of "Watt".) When Midwest Energy bills on the basis of electric demand, it is the average demand over a 15-minute period. In many cases, Midwest Energy measures demand in slightly different units, called kVA (kilovolt-ampere). In addition to demand, kVA billing includes consideration of the customer's power factor.
Kilowatt-hour (kWh)
The basic unit of electric energy equivalent to one kilowatt used for one hour. For example, ten 100 watt light bulbs will use one kWh in one hour (10 bulbs x 100 watts x one hour = 1000 watt-hours, or one kWh). When used in a resistance type appliance such as a toaster or portable heater, one kWh is equal to 3,413 BTUs.
Local Generation
Electricity generation charges associated with the physical upkeep and depreciation of generation facilities owned by Midwest Energy. The local generation charge does not include the cost of the fuel used to run these plants. Fuel costs are included in the Energy Cost Adjustment (ECA).
Meter Multiplier
For electric meters, this is the ratio of the customer's total load to the amount of the load flowing through the meter. Residential, farm and small commercial meters usually have a multiplier of one. That means all of the electricity used flows through the meter. The amount of electricity used by large commercial, oil field and industrial accounts is too large to flow through the meter without destroying it. For these, Midwest Energy installs devices that cause a known percentage of the actual load to flow through the meter. The meter multiplier times the change in beginning and ending meter readings is equal to the actual energy use.
Off-Peak Hours
All the hours of the year other than those that are on-peak.
On-Peak Hours
The hours during the year when demand for electricity is particularly high for Midwest Energy. These hours are from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday during the months of June - August.
Power Factor
The fraction of power actually used by a customer's electrical equipment compared to the total apparent power supplied, usually expressed as a percentage. A power factor indicates how far a customer's electrical equipment causes the electric current delivered at the customer's site to be out of phase with the voltage.
Rate Code
Refers to the particular Kansas Corporation Commission approved rate schedule from which charges are based. For a copy of the particular rate schedule identified by the rate code, see the electric and natural gas rate schedules in the Energy Choices section of this web site.
Retail Wheeling
A situation where electric energy producers (or marketers) are allowed to sell their production directly to retail customers while depending on the local utility to provide the actual delivery of the energy. Retail Wheeling is not currently permitted in Kansas.
Therm
The basic unit of natural gas consumption that measures the quantity of gas energy flowing through the pipes. One (1) therm is equal to 100,000 BTU's (British Thermal Units); ten (10) therms equal one (1) MMBtu or one million BTU.
Transmission
A portion of electric delivery charges for the bulk movement of power. Midwest Energy includes costs of its lines and substations that operate at 34,000 volts and above in this category.
Transport or Transportation Only Service
Natural gas service where the customer arranges for natural gas to be delivered to the Midwest Energy system by a gas marketer on the customer's behalf. Midwest Energy then delivers the gas to the customer without ever taking ownership of the gas. Transportation service is not available for Midwest Energy's residential customers at this time.
Unbundling
The process of separating the total cost of electric or natural gas service into its functional parts. In the electric industry, this means separating the cost of electricity into (1) Production (generation), (2) Transmission (bulk movement of power), and (3) Distribution (local delivery, metering and billing services). Transmission and Distribution together are often referred to as "delivery". In the gas industry, unbundling the gas service separates costs for the gas (1) production (the natural gas commodity), (2) Transmission (bulk movement of gas from one region to another via interstate pipelines), and Distribution (the local delivery, metering and billing). For billing purposes, Midwest Energy combines production costs and upstream interstate pipeline costs into the Purchased Gas Adjustment.
Usage Factor
For gas meters, this is the result of using values for service pressure at the meter outlet, local atmospheric pressure, and BTU content of the fuel, to convert the meter reading from a volumetric measurement to therms. Billing for thermal content instead of volumes is important because there are periodic changes in the heat content of gas arriving from upstream interstate pipelines. Call your local Midwest Energy office for a flyer that explains the usage factor equation in detail.
Watt
The rate of electric energy transfer equal to a current of one amp flowing at one volt. This is an instantaneous measure, similar to vehicle speed measured in miles per hour or water flow measured in gallons per minute. Watts are exactly equal to volts times amps if the current and voltage are perfectly in phase. (See definitions of kilovolt-ampere and power factor.)
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