facebook pixel code
Mailto Icon

Energy 101: Key Energy Industry Terms - Part III

When it comes to electricity usage, do you think about the habits you and your family may have that impact your energy consumption? 

Energy 101: Key Energy Industry Terms - Part III

This is Part 3 of an educational series on the electric utility industry.

Understanding basic components of the behind-the-scenes of the power you use can help guide your decisions when it comes to energy usage and energy efficiency. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to be an informed energy consumer. We hope this series empowers you with good knowledge to better understand this essential power we all depend on. 


The amount of electricity drawn from an electric system at a given time, measured in kilowatts. Consequently, a demand charge is a pricing structure for electricity based on the maximum amount of system power a consumer uses.  

Peak Demand

In the electric utility industry, peak demand is the equivalent of the “rush-hour traffic,” when power costs run the highest. It’s the greatest demand placed on an electric system, measured in kilowatts or megawatts; it is also referred to as the time of the day or season of the year when demand occurs. 

Off Peak Power

Electricity supplied during periods of low consumption. Off-peak rate is a pricing structure where consumers pay a special low amount for electricity used during times of low consumption. 

Distributed Generation

This type of electric generation refers to decentralized power designed to supplement or replace electric power produced by large generating plants. Distributed generation resources are usually located at or near the point of use. They typically include standby or emergency generators, small wind turbines, rooftop solar panels or mini hydro projects.

Smart Meter

A digital electric meter that identifies consumption patterns in detail over various time intervals, then uses two-way communications to transmit the information back to a local utility for power quality monitoring and billing purposes. 

Energy Efficiency

This term refers to using less energy to perform the same or additional functions such as running a refrigerator or an air conditioning unit. Energy efficiency is a resource that can be measured and verified and helps electric co-ops temporarily head off the need to build new generation while curbing greenhouse gas emissions.  OKL Article End