A Glossary of Essential Electrical Terms

By Greg Wilson |


Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific industry, and the world of electrical services is no exception.

To help you understand the electrical terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when speaking with electrical contractors, JNG Electric Ltd. has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your electrical needs effectively.


It is an instrument for measuring the flow of electrical current in amperes. Ammeters are always connected in series with the circuit to be tested.


It refers to the maximum amount of electric current a conductor or device can carry before sustaining immediate or progressive deterioration.


It is a device used to store an electric charge, consisting of one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator. Commonly used for filtering out voltage spikes.


It is a closed path in which electrons from a voltage or current source flow. Circuits can be in series, parallel, or combination of the two.

Circuit Breaker.

It is an automatic device for stopping the flow of current in an electric circuit. To restore service, the circuit breaker must be reset (closed) after correcting the cause of the overload or failure. Circuit breakers are used in conjunction with protective relays to protect circuits from faults.


It refers to any material through which electric current can flow freely. Conductive materials, such as metals, have a relatively low resistance. Copper and aluminum wire are the most common conductors used for electric devices.

Current (I).

It is the flow of an electric charge through a conductor. An electric current can be compared to the flow of water in a pipe. It is usually measured in amperes.


It is a tiny particle which rotates around the nucleus of an atom. It has a negative charge of electricity.


It refers to a circuit interrupting device consisting of a strip of wire that melts and breaks an electric circuit if the current exceeds the safe level. To restore service, the fuse must be replaced using a similar fuse with the same size and rating after correcting the cause of failure.


It is a device which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.


It is the reference point in an electrical circuit from which voltages are measured, a common return path for electric current, or a direct physical connection to the Earth.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).

It is a device intended for the protection of personnel that functions to de-energize a circuit or portion thereof within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds some predetermined value that is required to operate the overcurrent protective device of the supply circuit.


It is a coil of wire wrapped around an iron core. The inductance is directly proportional to the number of turns in the coil.


It refers to any material where electric current does not flow freely. Insulative materials, such as glass, rubber, air, and many plastics have a relatively high resistance. Insulators protect equipment and life from electric shock.

Open Circuit.

An open circuit occurs when a circuit is broken, as a result of a broken wire or open switch, which interrupts the flow of current through the circuit. It is analogous to a closed valve in a water system.

If you’re looking for experienced electricians in Regina, SK, reach out to the experts electricians at JNG Electric Ltd. We provide quality electrical services in the residential, commercial, and agricultural markets with the aim of offering our clients in and around Regina high-quality services at affordable rates.

See what we do best hereread our customer reviews here, or get in touch with us here.