Glossary of Terms

  • Aggregation or Aggregators:

    An aggregator is a person, local government or organization that brings a group of consumers together to buy electricity or natural gas. An aggregator may be able to get lower prices or other benefits for the group members.
  • Alternative Gas Supplier (AGS or Supplier):

    A person who sells natural gas at unregulated rates to customers located in Michigan, where gas is delivered to customers by a natural gas utility that has a customer choice program. An AGS is required to be licensed by the Michigan Public Service Commission and is a separate entity from your local gas utility company.
  • Balance (Recovery) and Demand (Capacity) Charge:

    Cost of balancing customer use with actual gas delivered and pipeline capacity.
  • Broker:

    A person or company that arranges the sale of electricity or natural gas between buyers and sellers but does not take title to any of the gas sold.
  • CCF:

    A measurement of 100 cubic feet of gas.
  • Commission:

    Means the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) in the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Comparison Charts:

    The MPSC’s natural gas offer comparison charts, the only comparisons in the state for which suppliers are required to provide accurate and up-to-date information about their latest offers.
  • Customer:

    An end user of natural gas.
  • Customer Charge:

    Fixed monthly charge covering costs of meter reading, billing, equipment and maintenance expenses, whether or not the service is used.
  • Customer Choice Program:

    A program approved by the Commission on application by a natural gas utility that allows retail customers to choose an alternative gas supplier.
  • Deregulation:

    Removal or relaxation of regulations or controls governing business or service operations like utilities.
  • Distribution:

    The delivery of gas to homes and businesses through the local pipelines by your local utility. This function remains regulated by the MPSC.
  • Distribution Charge:

    Costs of delivering gas to a home or business.
  • Energy Optimization Surcharge:

    Also known as an Energy Efficiency Charge. A Charge directed by the legislature for programs to help customers use energy more efficiently.
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):

    An independent federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity.
  • Fixed Rate:

    A fixed rate that will remain the same for a set for a fixed term.
  • Gas Cost Recovery Charge:

    Also known as a GCR Charge, Supplier Energy Charge or Gas Commodity. The charge for the actual amount of natural gas a customer uses. The GCR is a variable rate that can change monthly and is approved by the Commission. Utilities make no profit from the sale of the natural gas. The customer and the utility pay the same price.
  • Green Energy:

    Environmentally friendly fuel resources. Biogas promotes consumption of landfill gas that might otherwise be vented into the atmosphere. Carbon credits may be promoted as green energy to off-set usage and retirement through purchase of carbon credits.
  • Large Commercial Customer:

    A Non-Residential customer (business name) with aggregate natural gas usage of above 500 Mcf per year.
  • Local Distribution Company (LDC):

    The local natural gas distribution utility that delivers natural gas to your home or business.
  • Local Utility:

    The Company that delivers your electricity or natural gas to your home or business.
  • Market Price:

    The price of natural gas in a particular market.
  • Market-Based Rates:

    Natural gas rates established in an unregulated, competitive market.
  • MCF:

    A measurement of 1,000 cubic feet of gas.
  • Natural Gas Utility:

    An investor-owned business engaged in the sale and distribution of natural gas within Michigan whose rates are regulated by the Commission.
  • NYMEX:

    The New York Mercantile Exchange, a public market where natural gas and other commodities are sold and traded.
  • Reliability:

    The delivery of uninterrupted natural gas to consumers on demand.
  • Renewable Energy:

    Environmentally friendly fuel resources, such as wind, water, biomass, biogas, waste heat or solar. Sometimes referred to as "green" energy (see Green Energy).
  • Reservation Charge:

    Cost of pipeline capacity.
  • Residential Customer:

    A purchaser (account holder) of natural gas that is supplied or distributed by a utility for residential purposes.
  • Sales Tax:

    4% for residential service (6% for business service) required by Michigan Department of Treasury.
  • Slamming:

    Switching natural gas service to another supplier without a customer’s approval. This practice is illegal and penalties are enforced by the MPSC.
  • Small Commercial Customer:

    A Non-Residential customer (business name) with aggregate natural gas usage of 500 Mcf or less per year.
  • Supplier:

    The company that you can choose to provide the supply portion of your natural gas service (See Alternative Gas Supplier).
  • Supplier of Last Resort:

    Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR) serves as the "back-up" provider of natural gas service to the customer.
  • Supply Charge:

    The price of natural gas offered by a supplier.
  • Terms and Conditions:

    A contract between an alternative gas supplier and a customer that outlines fees, length of service and other important information.
  • Variable Rate:

    A variable rate can change, by the hour, day, month, etc., according to the terms and conditions of the supplier’s contract. (Some examples of variable price contracts may include month to month variable rate w/ no contract term, month to month variable rate w/ + green adder, capped variable rate, managed price variable rate, NYMEX + Cap variable rate etc.)