Glossary of Terms


The unit of measurement of electric current, akin to cubic feet of water flowing per second.

Average kW

The sum of the kilowatt hours in any billing period divided by the hours in that billing period.


The flow of water in reverse of the intended direction of flow.

Base Electrical System

The conduits, ducts, transformer pads, junction boxes and equipment foundations, complete and installed according to “McMinnville Water & Light Standard Underground Construction Specifications and Design Criteria”, such that electrical conductors, transformers and other equipment can be installed without further preparation of the facilities.

Billing Cycle

Customer accounts are divided into separate billing routes called cycles. Meters in each cycle are read and billed at approximately the same time each month.

Billing Period

Meters are read and their consumption billed to customers on a cycle each month with the exception of the opening and closing billings.

Billing Representative

That person designated by the customer to receive bills and notices sent by MW&L on behalf of the customer.


The Bonneville Power Administration.


The load for which an electric generating unit, other electrical equipment or power line is rated.

Close Account

To stop billing for services to a specific customer.

Commercial Use

See General Service.


Any material (such as a power line) that allows its electrons to be easily transferred.


A tubular material suitable for receiving and protecting electric conductors.

Connect Service

To physically start the availability/flow of service to the customer.

Connected Load

The sum of the rated capacities of all of the customer’s equipment to MW&L’s lines at any one time.

Construction Service

Electric service supplied for lights, tools and equipment used for the actual construction of a residence or commercial building. 120/240v single phase. Limited to 60 amp maximum. For larger construction service contact MW&L Engineering Department.


The party doing the utility work whether it be the actual owner or a person, firm or corporation working for the owner.

Cross Connection

Any actual connection or structural arrangement between a public or a customer’s potable water system and any other source through which it is possible to introduce into the potable water system any substance other than the potable water intended for it.

Cubic Feet

A unit of measure used when computing the amount of water used or that passes through a meter. 7.5 gallons = 1 Cu. Ft. of Water


Individual, partnership, corporation, firm, or governmental agency supplied with utility service by MW&L at one location. A residential customer means a customer who applies for, has been accepted and is currently receiving residential service. Customer includes those tenants or other persons residing at a residence that receives utility service notwithstanding that the service is paid for by the landlord, other person or the customer’s billing representative.


The KW used within a certain period.

Demand Charge

A separate charge based upon the demand for electric service by a commercial or industrial customer, based on the investment in facilities necessary to serve them.

Demand Meter

The purpose is to record the greatest amount of power used over an interval of time of prescribed length.


An individual, partnership, corporation, etc., requesting an electric line or water extension to service a specified parcel of land.

Disconnect Service

To stop the availability/flow of service to a service account/address.


Power lines, like those in neighborhoods, used to carry moderate voltage electricity which’s “stepped lines down” to household levels by transformers on power poles.

Electric Service

The availability of electric energy at the point of delivery for use by the customer whether or not the energy is actually used.


The motion of electrons through a conductor.


Pollution control devices attached to fossil fuel generating plants which prevent the vast majority of fly ash precipitators from being released into the air.


The electric energy measured in kilowatt hours (KWH).


The property, equipment, and material owned by MW&L including: poles, guy wire, anchors, transformers, meters, conductors, conduits, valves, pipe, etc.

Farm Service

One 120/240 volt single phase service provided to supply a rural residence, but which may also serve other farm related activities, provided that they are supplied through the same meter and do not exceed 30 KW during any month.

Feeder Line

Power lines that travel out from substations to “feed” smaller distribution lines in a certain geographic area.

Flat Rate

A fixed charge for certain customers that do not have meters and/or have unusual requirements. This is not a normal service and must be arranged by personal visit and request to MW&L’s Administrative Office.

General Service

Service that is not residential or farm service in nature.

Kilovolt (kV)

1,000 volts.

Kilowatt (kW)

A unit of power equal to 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

The amount of energy delivered in one hour when delivery is at a constant rate of one kilowatt.


The pipe, valves, and fittings leading from the point of delivery into the premises served. Also the electric overhead wires.


Power usually measured in kilowatts and is the average rate of energy used during any designated period of time.

Load Factor

The ratio of average kilowatt load to the peak kilowatt demand during any designated period, expressed in percent.


Pipe laid in the street, alley, or utility easement for the distribution of water.

Master Metering

Metering where multiple unit structures are served by one meter.

Megawatt (Mw)

One million watts or 1,000 kilowatts.


Instrument used for measuring the electricity or water delivered to the customer.


Approximately 30 days between meter reading dates, not necessarily a calendar month.

Notice (Service Of)

Notice under this policy, or the term “Service of Notice”, is defined to mean either delivery by mail which is effective when deposited in the U.S. Mail first class, postage prepaid, addressed to the last known address of the customer or tenant or personal service as defined below.

Peak Demand

A one hour period in a year representing the highest point of customer consumption of electricity.

Permanent Service

Electric service to a structure that is designed to remain in one place.

Personal Service Of Notice

Personal service shall be effective when delivered to an individual, eighteen (18) years or older at the address of the customer and tenant, or when posted on the front door of the customer’s and tenant’s residence or place of business.

Point Of Delivery

The point of attachment of McMinnville Water & Light’s water service line or electric conductor to the customer’s line or conductor without regard to the location of MW&L’s equipment.


The time rate of flow of electrical energy.

Prorated Billing

A method of billing for consumption and customer charges, based on the fraction of the month for which the customer was served.

Public Utility

A business enterprise rendering a service considered essential to the public and, as such, subject to regulation.

Rate Schedule

A statement of the charges and conditions for a particular class or type of service.

Residential Use

Permanent service supplied to an owner or tenant occupied single family residential dwelling. 120/240v single phase.  (“Family” must meet the City of McMinnville ORD.3380 Sec. 17.06.190 definition.)


Electricity and water provided by McMinnville Water & Light.

Service Area

The territory in which a utility has the right to supply service.

Service Drop

The overhead service conductors from the last pole or other aerial support, which connect to the meter service entrance equipment.

Service Entrance

The service conductors and conduit/cable between the terminals of the service equipment and point of attachment of the service drop or service lateral.

Service Entrance Equipment

Includes UL & MW&L approved meter base and conduits, brackets, switches, disconnects, fuses, breakers, and customer installed conductors where required.

Service Lateral

The underground service conductors between the secondary distribution system and the first point of connection to the service entrance equipment.

Service Wire

The set of wires, often bundled, that takes electricity from the transformer on the pole directly to the house or business. Referred to as service cable when installed underground.

Shut Off Valve

Valve to be used by the customer to shut water off on the customer’s side of the meter.


A facility where the voltage of electricity is reduced prior to distribution to customers.


Any act that interferes with the delivery, billing, and compensation for MW&L’s services.

Temporary Service

A service of a short period of time: i.e. fairs, roadside stands, irrigation pumps and any service that does not meet the requirements for permanent service line or main or main extension.


The equipment vital to the transmission and distribution of electricity designed to increase or decrease voltage.

Transmission Lines

Power lines normally used to carry high voltage electricity to substations which then is “stepped down” for distribution to individual customers.


The unit of electromotive force or electric pressure, akin to water pressure in pounds per square inch.

Water Service Line

The tap, service pipe, valves, fittings, meter, and meter box installed from the water main to the point of delivery.


The electrical unit of power or rate of doing work.