Glossary of Terms

General Terms

Access The contracted right to use an electrical system to transfer electrical energy.
Ampere (Amp) The SI (International System of Units) unit of electric current.
Capacitor Banks System elements (equipment) that support the voltages necessary to provide reliable service to customers and end users.
Capacity The load-carrying ability expressed in megawatts (MW) of generation, transmission or other electrical equipment.
Circuit A path of conductors (wires) that an electric current follows.
Circuit Breaker A device designed to open and close an electrical circuit.
Conductor A material through which electric current flows easily, also referred to as wires.
Contingency An outage of a transmission line, generator or other piece of equipment, which affects the flow of power on the transmission network and impact other network elements.
Demand The rate at which electric energy is delivered to or by a system or part of a system, generally expressed in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW) at a given instant or averaged over any designated interval of time.
Distribution An interconnected group of lines and associated equipment for the local delivery of low-voltage electricity between the transmission network and end users.
FERC The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity.
Generation The act of converting various forms of energy input (thermal, mechanical, chemical and/or nuclear energy) into electric power.  Also the amount of electric energy produced, usually expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh) or megawatt hours (MWh).
Grid The transmission and distribution networks operated by electrical utilities.
Heavy loads High volume of electricity flowing on a line, transformer or other equipment to meet a high demand for electricity, usually during hot summer months.
Import/ Export Ability of the transmission system to bring power into or out of an area in order to serve electric load.
Insulator A material that opposes the flow of electric current;  the ceramic piece that holds the conductor (wire) to the transmission structure. 
Kilovolt A unit of electromotive force = to 1,000 volts.
Kilowatt A unit of electrical power (kW) = to 1,000 watts.
Kilowatt hour A unit of electrical energy (kWh) equal to that done by one kilowatt acting for one hour.
Load All the devices that consume electricity and make up the total demand for power at any given moment, like factories, distribution substations, etc.
Loading relief A system change or reinforcement that results in lower power flows on equipment that is heavily loaded or overloaded.
Low voltages Situation that can occur in parts of the system that are heavily loaded. 
Margin The difference between (1) generation resources and electric demand or (2) the difference between the capacity of a transmission line and the power flowing on that line.  Margin is usually expressed in megawatts (MW).
Megawatt A unit of electrical power (MW) = to 1 million watts.
NERC North American Reliability Council: a not-for-profit company formed by the electric utility industry in 1968 to promote the reliability of the electricity supply in North America. NERC consists of nine Regional Reliability Councils and one Affiliate whose members account for virtually all the electricity supplied in the US, Canada and a portion of Mexico.
Network A system of interconnected lines and electrical equipment.
Operating Guides Procedures carried out by transmission operators when certain events occur on the system that may compromise system reliability if no action is taken.
Open Air Switchgear Switchgear that is mounted on a metallic framed cabinet and uses air as an insulator.  In the 20th century, open air switchgear frames dominated the substation landscape.  This technology requires enough space between gears to insure safety. 
Outage The unavailability of electrical equipment;  could be planned for maintenance of unplanned (forced) by weather or equipment failures.
Overloads Occur when power flowing through wires or equipment is more than they can carry without incurring damage.
Power flows Electricity moving through lines or other equipment.
Rebuild Removing an existing line and replacing it with a new, higher capacity line.
Reconfigure Change the physical asset (ex: tower, circuits, station, etc.) to accommodate a redesign or a different purpose.
Reliable Meets standard industry and specific PSE&G performance criteria.
Reliability The degree of performance of the elements of the bulk electric system that results in electricity being delivered to customers within accepted standards and in the amount desired.  The ability to deliver uninterrupted electricity to customers on demand, and to withstand sudden disturbances such as short circuits or loss of system components.
Reserve The difference between an electric system’s capability and the expected peak demand for electricity.
Scada Acronym for System Control and data Acquisition.  This equipment is used to send data from a remote location to a central location, and to communicate control commands from a central location to remote devices.
Serve load Reliably deliver the amounts of electricity needed to match what consumers would need at any given time.
Stability The ability of an electric system to maintain a state of equilibrium during normal and abnormal system conditions or disturbances.
Substation Changes energy from one amount of voltage to another, often in the direction of a higher voltage to a lower voltage.  A high-voltage transmission line will connect to a substation to move electricity into a low-voltage distribution system on its way to customers.
Switchgear In electrical engineering, any of several devices used for opening and closing electric circuits, especially those that pass high currents.
Switching Station Facility equipment used to tie together two or more electric circuits through switches.  The switches are selectively arranged to permit a circuit to be disconnected or to change the electric connection between the circuits.
System Planning The process by which the performance of the electric system is evaluated and future changes and additions to the bulk electric systems are determined.
T&D interconnection Transmission to distribution interconnection; place where local distribution substations connect to the main transmission system.
Thermal rating The maximum amount of electrical current that a transmission line or electrical facility can conduct over a specified time period before it sustains permanent damage by overheating or before it violates public safety requirements.
Transformer An electromagnetic device for transforming energy from one circuit to another of different voltage levels as in alternating current system.
Transmission An interconnected group of lines and associated equipment for the movement or transfer of electric energy between points of supply, and points at which it is transformed for delivery to customers or is delivered to other electric systems.
Transmission structures Poles or towers that support the conductors and separate the overhead wires.
Volt The International System unit of electric potential and electromotive force, equal to the difference of electric potential between two points on a conducting wire carrying a constant current of one ampere when the power dissipated between the points is one watt.
Voltage A type of ‘pressure’ that drives electrical charges through a circuit.  Higher voltage lines generally carry power over longer distances.
Voltage collapse Can occur after a contingency where the voltage dips low enough and cannot recover quickly enough.  In this situation, protective equipment will automatically disconnect lines and/or transformers causing load to be shed.
Voltage stability System is able to maintain the proper voltages needed to serve the electric load.

Unit of power equal to volts x amps

General Property Ownership Related Terms

Right of Way The privilege granting a person or organization the legal right of passage over land which that person does not own.
Easement Legal right to use another person’s property;  a right to use a part of land which is owned by another person or organization. 
Audible Noise Noises that can be heard coming from equipment;  the measure of the noise emanating from equipment in audible frequencies usually represented in decibels (dBA).


Vegetation Management Removal of vegetation or the prevention of vegetative growth to maintain safe conditions around energized conductor(s), provide utility access to the conductor and enrure reliable electric service.  Vegetation management consists of biological, chemical, cultural, manual and mechanical methods.  This can include the practice of manipulating the species mix, age, height, fuel load, distribution, etc. of wild plant communities within a prescribed area.
Soil Boring Soil boring is a process by which a soil sample is extracted from the ground for chemical, biological and analytical testing.  The analysis will allow examination of the geology in areas where new towers are proposed.  A circular hole made in the ground by an auger or mechanical drill rig to collect soil samples deep in the ground.  Soil is extracted at a depth of 50 to 100 feet below the ground surface. 
Lattice Tower A freestanding steel framework tower that can be used as an electrical power line carrier (usually for voltages above 100 kilovolts), a radio tower or an observation tower.
Monopole A single self-supporting vertical pole with no guy wire anchors, usually consisting or a metal or a wooden pole with below-grade foundations.
Dual Circuit In areas where it is necessary to share right-of-way with an existing circuit, the new 500-kV circuit would be part of a double circuit (D/C) configuration, sharing the same structure with an existing circuit on an existing right-of-way.
Fee-Owned Fee ownership means owner/holder holds title and all rights and privileges associated with land ownership.
500 kV (500,000 volts) Voltage is a measure of electrical potential.  It describes the rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit and is the force pushing electrical current along wires and cables.  The proposed transmission lines will have the capacity to transmit 500 kV of energy.
230 kV (230,000 volts) Voltage is a measure of electrical potential.  It describes the rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit and is the force pushing electrical current along wires and cables.  The proposed transmission lines will have the capacity to transmit 230 kV of energy.

General Real Estate Terms

Appraisal An unbiased estimate of the nature, quality, value or utility of an interest in, or aspect of, identified real estate and related personal property.
CAI Commonwealth Associates, Inc. Land acquisition and engineering firm hired on behalf of PSE&G to obtain land rights necessary to complete the transmission line project.
Deed Legal document that conveys title to real property.
Easement A right acquired by a person (or a legal entity such as a corporation) to use the land or property of another for a special or particular purpose.
Eminent Domain The power of government (or its legal designee, such as a public utility company) to acquire private property for a public use.  This is also known as the power of condemnation.
FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  The Federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s energy generation and delivery systems. The FERC has the authority to site transmission lines in identified constrained areas if states do not or cannot site the facilities.
Market Price The amount actually paid for a property in a particular transaction.
Market Value The highest price in terms of money which a property will bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions required for a fair sale, the buyer and seller are each acting willingly, prudently and knowledgeably.
NJBPU New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.  The state agency charged with regulating public utility companies.
PJM Pennsylvania, Jersey and Maryland Regional Transmission Organization.  The legal entity created to plan and supervise electric transmission with in a 13 state area, including New Jersey.  PJM, acting under FERC authority, ensures the reliability of the electric power supply system by managing a long-term regional electric transmission planning process.
Right of Entry (ROE) The right of access to and use of the surface and subsurface of land for a specific purpose and duration.  ROE’s are used in those situations where PSE&G does not have access rights via an easement or other legal instrument.  A ROE sets forth the terms and conditions under which PSE&G will be allowed access to property and acts as a protection for the property owner.  As such, PSE&G will where necessary provide ROE’s for landowner approval. 
Right of Way (ROW) The right to pass over another’s land and includes land or an interest in land acquired for the purposes of laying, placing, maintaining, replacing and removing transmission lines or wires along with support structures for the conveyance of electric power.
Running with the Land An easement is said to run with the land when it extends beyond the original parties to the easement and binds all subsequent parties to abide by the terms of the original easement agreement.
Survey The accurate mathematical measurements of land and buildings thereon made with the aid of instruments.
Zoning The divisions of a municipality, town or city by legislative act into districts where construction is limited to a prescribed type of building, with specific structural and architectural design and where only certain uses of the land are permitted.