Glossary of Electric Utility Industry Terms


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S

SCADA - An acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA is a computer system used to monitor and control a system or operation. The term Data Acquisition refers to the part of the SCADA system that acquires remote information and displays it on the computer screen. This data can include megawatts, amps, voltages, vars, temperatures, status of equipment, etc. The term Supervisory Control refers to the control part of the computer system that remotely operates or controls specific pieces of equipment in the system. (EUSO, CAEDS, EDS, System operator classes)

Secondary – The part of the utility distribution system ranging from 120 volts up to 600 volts. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS)

SEPA – See Southeastern Power Administration.

SERCSoutheastern Electric Reliability Council - See NERC. (EUSO, System operator classes)

Shield Wire - A steel cable that is installed above the phase conductors in a distribution or transmission line. The steel cable is grounded. The purpose of the steel cable is to protect the phases from lightning strikes. Lightning will usually strike the steel cable and be diverted into the earth. Shield wire are also called static wire, overhead ground wire, sky wire (in Canada) and ridge wire (in parts of Alabama). (EUSO)

Shot – A term used to describe the opening on a recloser or a circuit breaker with an automatic reclose feature added by the utility. When placed on “one shot,” the recloser or circuit breaker will open because of a fault and remain open. It opens once and this is called “one shot.” If it opens, recloses and then opens, it is called 2 shots because it has opened twice. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS, System operator classes)

Shot Gun – An insulating pole used to work on energized power lines. Earlier poles were wood, and later fiber glass, with connectors that screw into the end. A shot gun is a more advanced pole with a slide action resembling the slide action of a pump shotgun. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS)

Short Circuit - Current flowing where it should not be, when a problem occurs. The term “fault” is usually used in power systems instead of the term short circuit. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS, System operator classes)

Sky Wire - A steel cable that is installed above the phase conductors in a distribution or transmission line. The steel cable is grounded. The purpose of the steel cable is to protect the phases from lightning strikes. Lightning will usually strike the steel cable and be diverted into the earth. Sky wire is a Canadian term. In the United States, it is called shield wire, overhead ground wire, static wire and ridge wire (in parts of Alabama). (EUSO)

Slip Rings – Three metal rings mounted on the shaft of a wound-rotor induction motor. A variable external resistance or external electronic circuit is connected to the motor windings through the rings. These external circuits vary the current flowing in the rotor windings which changes the motor’s slip, which in turn varies the speed of the motor. (CAEDS-photo, IESO-photo) In a generating plant, the term “slip rings” is often applied to the two metal rings on the generator shaft. These are truly not slip rings, they are collector rings. (See collector rings above and EUSO-photo)

Slug – A fuse link much larger than required, or a piece of conductor with no fuse characteristics used in place of a fuse.

Slugging – Installing a fuse link much larger than required or installing a piece of conductor with no fuse characteristics in place of a fuse.

Solid Blade Disconnect – A disconnect switch (See Disconnect Switch) that does not incorporate a fuse. (EDS-photo)

Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA www.sepa.doe.gov) – One of four federal electric power marketing administrations. The Southeastern Power Administration markets and provides transmission for power from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydroelectric dams. The 11 states covered include Alabama, Georgia, northwest Florida, southern Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The other federal electric power marketing administrations are The Bonneville Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Western Area Power Administration. (EUSO, System operator classes)

Southeastern Electric Reliability Council - SERC - See NERC. (EUSO, System operator classes)

Southwest Power Pool, Inc. - SPP - See NERC. (EUSO, System operator classes)

Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA www.swpa.gov) – One of four federal electric power marketing administrations. The Southwestern Power Administration markets and provides transmission for power from 24 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydroelectric dams. The 6 states covered include Arkansas, southeastern corner of Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The other federal electric power marketing administrations are The Bonneville Power Administration, the Southeastern Power Administration, and the Western Area Power Administration. (EUSO, System operator classes)

Spike – An instantaneous rise and drop in voltage. Lightning striking a power line causes an instantaneous rise in voltage, and the voltage then returns to normal. This is a spike. The term spike is an older term. Several years ago the term spike was changed to surge. (EUSO, CAEDS, EDS, IESO, System operator classes)

Spinning Reserve – Available generator output, from a connected generator, that can be put into the power system in a set amount of time. (EUSO, System operator classes)

SPPSouthwest Power Pool, Inc. - See NERC. (EUSO, System operator classes)

Stack – A term used for taller rigid insulators used on poles. They are installed vertically or slanted upward. It is a shorter term for stack insulator. The term stack come from the fact that the insulator appears to be insulator bells (see bell) stacked on top of each other. It can also refer to the chimney at a fossil-fuel generating plant used to vent combustion emissions. (EUSO)

Stack Insulator – A term used for taller rigid insulators used on poles. They are installed vertically or slanted upward. The term stack comes from the fact that the insulator appears to be insulator bells (see bell) stacked on top of each other. (EUSO)

Static VAR Compensator – A silicon-switched system used to switch capacitors in and out of a system in order to compensate for inductive loads. (EUSO)

Star – In the United States, star is an obsolete term that has been replaced by the term wye. (See Wye) Some countries continue to use the term star. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS)

Star Connection – In the United States, star is an obsolete term that has been replaced by the term wye connection. (See Wye) Some countries continue to use the term star connection. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS)

Star Point – A historical term that is now called the neutral connection in a 3-phase system. (EUSO, IESO, CAEDS, EDS)

Static VAR Compensator – A silicon-switched system used to switch capacitors in and out of a system in order to compensate for inductive loads. (EUSO, IESO, System Operator classes)

Static Wire – A steel cable that is installed above the phase conductors in a distribution or transmission line. The steel cable is grounded. The purpose of the steel cable is to protect the phases from lightning strikes. Lightning will usually strike the steel cable and be diverted into the earth. Static wire is also called shield wire, overhead ground wire, sky wire (in Canada) and ridge wire (in parts of Alabama). (EUSO)

Stator – A generator’s (or AC motor’s) stationary cylindrical steel enclosure that holds the wires. (EUSO-photo, CAEDS-photo, IESO-photo)

Stator Bars – The wires wrapped inside a generator’s (or motor’s) steel cylinder. (Same as stator coils and stator windings) (EUSO-photo, CAEDS-photo, IESO-photo)

Stator Coils – The wires wrapped inside a generator’s (or motor’s) steel cylinder. (Same as stator bars and stator windings) (EUSO-photo, CAEDS-photo, IESO-photo)

StatorWindings – The wires wrapped inside a generator’s (or motor’s) steel cylinder. (Same as stator bars and stator coils) EUSO (EUSO-photo, CAEDS-photo, IESO-photo)

Step Potential – The voltage produced on the ground, in the distance of an average step, by an energized power line lying on the ground. Step potential is often lethal. (EUSO, CAEDS, EDS, IESO, System operator classes)

Stinger - In a 3-phase delta-connected system, the phase that has a voltage between itself and ground that is 1.73 times higher than the voltages between the other two phases and ground. It is also called the bastard leg, high leg, power leg and wild leg. (CAEDS, EDS)

String - The flexible insulators used to hang a conductor from a support located above. It is a shorter for string insulator. The term string is used because the insulators are flexible like a piece of string.String insulators are also called suspension insulators. (EUSO)

String Insulator - The flexible insulators used to hang a conductor from a support located above. The term string is used because the insulators are flexible like a piece of string. (EUSO)

Substation – The enclosed area of ground surrounded by a fence in which voltages are changed. These areas are usually enclosed by chain-link fence, but in downtown areas they can be found in buildings or underground. (EUSO)

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, is a computer system used to monitor and control a system or operation. The term Data Acquisition refers to the part of the SCADA system that acquires remote information and displays it on the computer screen. This data can include megawatts, amps, voltages, vars, temperatures, status of equipment, etc. The term Supervisory Control refers to the control part of the computer system that remotely operates or controls specific pieces of equipment in the system. (EUSO, CAEDS, EDS, System operator classes)

Surge - An instantaneous rise and drop in voltage. Lightning striking a power line causes an instantaneous rise in voltage, and the voltage then returns to normal. This is a surge. The former term for surge was spike. Several years ago the term spike was changed to surge. (EUSO, CAEDS, EDS, IESO)

Surge Arrestor - A device used to divert lightning, and other surges, from an electrical system into the earth, minimizing damage to the system. The former term was lightning arrestor. Approximately 30 years ago, the technical community changed the name to surge arrestor, but the vast majority of operations people still use the term lightning arrestor. (EUSO, IESO)

Suspension Insulator – The flexible insulators used to hang a conductor from a support located above. (EUSO)

SVC – See static VAr compensator. (EUSO)

Switchgear – The term switchgear has two meanings. One use is an inclusive term for all circuit breakers and switches. A second is more specific and refers to what manufacturers call metal-clad or metal-enclosed switchgear. These switchgear units are metal buildings in which the circuit breakers and/or switches are located. These switchgear units come as a package and also includes all metering, relaying, heating, cooling and lighting.

SWPA – See Southwestern Power Administration.

Synchronizing – The process of connecting a generator to an energized electrical system. (EUSO, IESO, System operator classes)


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