The City of Medicine Hat website is undergoing maintenance between Oct 9-23. You may notice intermittent delays but content will continue to be updated regularly.

Learning the Language of Energy

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Knowledge Saves Power_01 KSPFrom kWh to MCAF, the energy and energy efficiency industry has its own set of terms that may be new to some customers. HAT Smart wants to ensure that all Medicine Hat residents are prepared to speak the same language when it comes to energy use in our community!

By helping residents understand the language of energy, we are making sure that Medicine Hat is fully of smart energy consumers. Knowing the lingo helps customers better understand their home's energy usage and make environmentally conscious decisions for the future.

Let's get HAT Smarter this year!


Simply defined, energy is the ability to do work. It comes in many different forms and from many different sources, both renewable and non-renewable resources. Electrical energy is usually measured in kilowatt-hours, while heat energy in measured in gigajoules.

Energy = Power X Time

Gigajoules (GJ)
A gigajoule is a unit of energy and in Alberta is typically how our natural gas usage is measured on our utility bill. One gigajoule is equivalent to the energy it takes to run 200 loads through your dishwasher.

Kilowatt (kW)
A kilowatt is a unit of power. Kilowatt is the standard unit for measuring electricity demand and is equal to 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt hour (kWh)
A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the standard unit for measuring electricity consumption, equal to 1 kilowatt of power for 1 hour, and it’s how your electricity use is represented on your utility bill.

What can you get for a kilowatt hour? Of course, the more efficient your appliances, the more you’ll get, but one general way to think of it is that it takes about one kWh to watch 10 hours of television.

Watts (W)
A watt is a unit of power. A product’s wattage is the amount of power, or electricity, required to make it work. Energy efficient products require less power to operate, but still provide equal or better output. This translates to lower electricity bills, without sacrificing product quality.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same service. Often, it requires a change in technology. It measures differences in how much energy is used to provide the same level of comfort, performance, or convenience by the same type of product, building, or vehicle. Energy efficient products and appliances help us use less energy while maintaining our usual standard of living and overall comfort.

Energy Conservation
At the most basic level, energy conservation means using less energy and is usually a behavioural change, like turning your lights off or setting your thermostat lower.

When an ENERGY STAR® label is given to a product or appliance, it shows that it meets government standards for energy efficiency. Choosing an ENERGY STAR® qualified model over a conventional model could save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs. Visit the link below for more information on ENERGY STAR® certified products.

EnerGuide Label
EnerGuide is a federally administered program that provides consumers with information about the energy use of various products and appliances. The EnerGuide label shows how much energy appliances consume in a year of normal service and makes it easy to compare the energy efficiency of various models. Visit the link below for more information on the EnerGuide label.

EnerGuide Home Evaluation
An EnerGuide home evaluation is a service designed to help homeowners increase the energy-efficiency and comfort of their homes. It provides useful information about your home’s energy performance that can help you make informed decisions when operating, renovating or purchasing a home.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)
An LED is a semiconductor device that converts an electric current into visible light. LED bulbs are more efficient and last much longer than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Unlike fluorescent bulbs, LEDs do not use mercury, which is toxic and requires proper disposal.

Net-Zero-Energy Home
A net-zero-home is one in which energy production and consumption are equivalent.

That means the energy produced by the home must meet all of the household's needs. This is typically achieved by installing solar panels of the roof of the house. To help achieve net-zero energy, the home should be designed using a holistic, whole-house approach that strives for efficiency and reduces energy consumption without sacrificing service or comfort.

Residential Utility Bill Charges

Administration Charges (Electric & Gas)
Administration charges cover costs related to billing and customer care. It also includes the costs of energy lost in distribution system lines.

Capacity Charge (Electric)
Ensures that we can generate enough electricity to meet the needs of our customers.

Commodity Charge (Gas & Water)
Cost of providing natural gas and clean drinking water.

Delivery Charge (Gas)
Costs associated with maintaining the infrastructure of the city's gas distribution network, ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas.

Energy Charge (Electric)
The cost of electricity used by a customer measured in kilowatt hours (kWh's).

Energy Conservation Charge
A rate applied to gas consumption greater than 18 GJ and electric consumption greater than 950 kWh. This money goes towards funding energy conservation programs such as funding renewable / alternative energy, resource conservation and education projects / programs.

Facilities Usage Charge (Electric)
The fee for accessing the delivery equipment of the electrical system and ensures the system is maintained and repaired as required.

Going Green
The city purchases a portion of its power from wind generation.

Municipal Consent And Access Fee (MCAF)
Municipal consent and access fees are allowed by Alberta legislation and are levied by other municipalities across the province. City of Medicine Hat began charging this fee in January, 2019.

Utility providers pay municipalities a municipal consent and access fee generally for two reasons:

  • For the exclusive right to provide services to the community
  • To compensate the municipality for direct costs related to the use of municipal land, restrictions on planning and development due to utility rights of way, as well as inherent risks to utility access

Municipal consent and access fees are outlined in franchise agreements between municipalities and utility providers. The agreements and related fees must be approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission.

Province of Alberta Carbon Levy
This is a key part of the Climate Leadership Plan, Alberta's action plan on climate change. Pricing carbon pollution is the most cost effective way to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. The carbon levy will be included in the price of all fuels that emit greenhouse gases when combusted including transportation and heating fuels.

Recycling (Waste Minimization/Diversion)
This covers costs that are associated with Recycling programs, (drop-off, yard waste, electronic waste and household hazardous waste recycling). The fee also helps to fund new recycling opportunities for waste diversion innovation as well as other new strategic plan activities.

Service Charge
A daily charge to cover the cost of providing and maintaining utility service to an address.