Energy Terms


Learn all the terms we use


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):

A quasi-independent regulatory agency within the Department of Energy having jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, oil pipeline rates, and gas pipeline certification.

Federal Power Act:

Enacted in 1920, and amended in 1935, the Act consists of three parts. The first part incorporated the Federal Water Power Act administered by the former Federal Power Commission, whose activities were confined almost entirely to licensing non-Federal hydroelectric projects. Parts II and III were added with the passage of the Public Utility Act. These parts extended the Act’s jurisdiction to include regulating the interstate transmission of electrical energy and rates for its sale as wholesale in interstate commerce. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is now charged with the administration of this law.

Federal Power Commission:

The predecessor agency of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Federal Power Commission (FPC) was created by an Act of Congress under the Federal Water Power Act on June 10, 1920. It was charged originally with regulating the electric power and natural gas industries. The FPC was abolished on September 20, 1977, when the Department of Energy was created. The functions of the FPC were divided between the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Firm Gas:

Service offered to customers (regardless of Class of Service) under schedules or contracts which anticipate on interruptions. The period of service may be for only a specified part of the year as in Off-Peak Service. Certain firm service contracts may contain clauses which permit unexpected interruption in case the supply to residential customers is threatened during an emergency.

Firm Service:

A daily obligation to deliver and receive a set amount of natural gas.


Any substance that can be burned to produce heat; also, materials that can be fissioned in a chain reaction to produce heat.

Fuel Gas:

Gas used as fuel by the pipeline companies to operate the compressions that move the gas through the pipeline. Usually expressed as a percentage of volumes transported. Used to operate compressors and to replace unaccounted for gas.

Futures Market:

Arrangement through a contract for the delivery of a commodity at a future time and at a price specified at the time of purchase. The price is based on an auction or market basis. This is a standardized, exchange-traded, and government regulated hedging mechanism.

Force Majeure:

An “Act of God”. An unexpected disruptive event that is beyond the control of the buyer or seller and interferes with a party’s ability to perform its obligation under a contract. A force majeure event will typically relieve a party from contract obligation.