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Public Utilities, Second Edition

Old Problems, New Challenges

David E. McNabb

A thoroughly updated introduction to the current issues and challenges facing managers and administrators in the investor and publicly owned utility industry, this engaging volume addresses management concerns in five sectors of the utility industry: electric power, natural gas, water, wastewater systems and public transit.
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Glossary and useful definitions

David E. McNabb


This section is a list of words, phrases, and technical terminology that frequently appear in the utilities industry and associated literature. A number of them, but not all, are used in this volume. The definitions are collected and edited from industry, government, and utility literature.

Acid rain: Precipitation containing harmful amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids formed primarily by nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels and some solid waste components are burned.

Active solar energy: Solar radiation used to provide space and water heating, or to produce electricity.

Aerobic: Decomposition process in the presence of oxygen (see “composting”).

Aggregator: A commercial entity that purchases electric or natural gas energy in bulk for a group of customers, thereby receiving quantity discounts from suppliers.

Anaerobic: Decomposition process in the absence of oxygen (see “methane”).

Ancillary services: Additional services necessary to support the transmission of energy from sources to loads; natural gas processors are an example.

Aquaculture water use: Water used in raising and processing finfish and shellfish in captivity.

Aquifer: A geologic formation with enough saturated porous and permeable material to maintain and transmit matter at a rate sufficient to feed a spring or well.

Barrel: A volume unit of measurement for crude oil and processed petroleum products; it is equivalent to 42 U.S. gallons. The abbreviation for barrel is ‘Bbl.’

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