If you ask most people how electricity works, you’ll probably get answers that range from turning on a light switch to flicking on the stove to preheat before making dinner. We have become used to the fact that electricity exists inside our homes and that we can use it to keep ourselves warm, dry, and fed. How does it get there, exactly?
Electricity must be generated in a power plant or a generation facility. Turbine blades turned by water, steam, or wind and rotating at a high speed are needed to generate the energy that will then be transmitted to homes and other structures. Transmission occurs via a substation that is located in the power plant and that is capable of transmitting electricity to locations approximately 300 miles away. The transmission occurs via transmission lines connected by huge steel towers.
You’ve seen the poles and wires along the highway and in your cities, right? These electrical transmission and distribution systems connect power plants across the country and form a “power grid.” This ensures that, if the nearest power plant cannot generate enough electricity for the area, another one can send along the needed reinforcements. If we did not have these power lines, many areas would not have access to consistent electricity.
Before entering your home, the electricity must first go through a transmission grid, power substation, and a transformer that continually reduce the voltage so it can be safely delivered to a house. If you look at the power lines near your home, you should be able to identify the small pole-top transformers on top of them. These are the last line of power reduction and ensure the voltage is safe.
When it is at the right voltage, the last stop is a meter in your home that the electricity passes through and which monitors it to see how much you use (and, as a result, how much you will pay every month).
The next time you turn on your living room light, take a moment to appreciate everything that had to work properly to provide you with the electricity you often take for granted.
If you have any questions about electric issues in your home or need the help of a professional electrician, please visit our website!