Glossary

Alternating current (AC): Electric current that reverses directions at regular intervals.
Amps: Measurement of current flow through a conductor.
Atom: The smallest unit of matter.  Everything in the world is made of different combinations of atoms.
Battery:  A single or group of connected electric cells that produces a direct electric current (DC).
Blackout: Total loss of electric power from the power distributor.
Brownout: A temporary reduction of voltage supplied by the electric power distributor.
Capacitance:  The ability of a component to store an electrical charge.
Charge: Electricity produced by a surplus or a shortage of electrons in an object.
Circuit: The path followed by a flow of electric current.
Conductor: A substance or material that allows electrons, or electrical current, to flow through it.
Current:  The movement or flow of electricity through a conductor.

Direct Current (DC):
Electric current flowing in only one direction
Distribution Lines: Overhead or underground power lines that carry electricity through cities and neighborhoods to your home or business.
Electricity: The flow of electrons.
Electron:  A negatively charged particle that orbits the nucleus of an atom. The flow of electrons produces electricity.
Energy: The ability to do work. Energy = Power x Time
Energy Management System: A system designed to ensure safety, security, and reliability to an electrical network.
Fission:   The splitting apart of an atom’s nucleus, releasing heat energy.
Fuse: An electrical safety device consisting of a wire or strip of fusible metal that melts and interrupts the circuit when the current exceeds a preset amperage.
Generator:  A machine which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. 
Geothermal Energy: Heat energy that is stored below the earth’s surface.
Ground: An electrical connection to the earth.
Grid: A power systems layout of its substations and power lines.
Hydroelectricity: Electricity generated by flowing water making a turbine spin.
Insulator: Any material that will not allow electricity to easily flow through.
Kilowatt (kW): A unit for measuring electrical energy.
Kilowatt Hour (kWh): One kilowatt of electrical energy produced or used in one hour.
Lightning:  A flash of light caused by an atmospheric electrical discharge between two clouds or between a cloud and the earth.
Lightning Arrestor: A device used to protect an electrical component from over-voltage.
Load: An electrical device or devices that use electric power.
Magnet: An object surrounded by a magnetic field that has the ability to attract iron or steel.
Magnetic Field: An identified force that exists around a magnet or electrical field.
Megawatt: One million watts.
Meter: An instrument that records the amount of something passing through it, such as electricity.
Motor:  A device that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Neutron: A basic particle in an atom’s nucleus that has a neutral electrical charge.
Nuclear Power: Energy produced by splitting atoms in a nuclear reactor.
Nucleus: The center of an atom that contains both protons and neutrons.
Ohms: The unit of measurement of the electrical resistance of a material.
Power:  Energy used to do work measured in watts.
Power Factor: The inefficient use of electrical power; the ratio of watts to volt-amperes.
Proton: A basic particle in an atom’s nucleus that has a positive charge.
Radio: An electrical device that is capable of sending or receiving messages by means of electromagnetic waves through the air.
Resistance: The resistance to flow of electricity through a material.
SCADA Systems: Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition.  A Computer system used to remotely monitor and control substation equipment.
Socket: An opening into which something fits, such as a light socket.
Solar Energy: Energy produced by the sun’s light or heat.
Spike: A short duration of increased voltage lasting only one-half of a cycle.
Static Electricity: An electrical charge built up due to friction between two dissimilar materials.
Substation: An electrical facility where transformers lower high transmission voltages to be distributed to customers.
Surge: A short duration of increased voltage.
Switch: An electrical component used for connecting, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit.
Thermal: Of, using, producing, or caused by heat.
Thermography: A technique used for detecting and measuring the heat emitted by various objects, such as an electrical distribution panel. This technique can be recorded photographically.
Transformer:  An electrical device that will raise or lower electricity’s voltage and current.
Turbine-generator: A large fan(s) that is coupled to a generator field. This turbine (fan) is put into motion by the force of water, steam, or hot exhaust gases that rotate the turbine.
Volt: The unit of measurement of force used to produce an electric current.
Watt: A unit for measuring electric power.
Wind turbine: A machine that uses energy from the wind and transfers the motion to an electric generator.