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Electricity Distribution

You may not realize it when a bulb lights up at the flip of a switch or you simply plug in a cord to get some electrical gadget going- but electricity has to travel a long way to get to your house. In fact, the power plant where your electricity is made might be hundreds of miles away!

All the towers, poles and wires you see along vast stretches of land and in front of your house are called the electrical transmission and distribution system. Using hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls, scientist Nikola Tesla designed the first full-scale electric system in the early 1900s.

Today, power plants all across the country are connected to each other through the electrical system (sometimes called the “power grid”). If one power plant can’t produce enough electricity to run all the air conditioners when it’s hot, another power plant can send some where it’s needed.

Here’s how the electricity gets to your house:

  Electricity is made at a power plant by huge generators. Most power plants use coal, but some use natural gas, water or even wind.
 
  The current is sent through transformers to increase the voltage to push the power long distances.
 
  The electrical charge goes through high-voltage transmission lines that stretch across the country.
 
  It reaches a substation, where the voltage is lowered so that it can be sent on smaller power lines.
 
  It travels through distribution lines to your neighborhood, where smaller pole-top transformers reduce the voltage again to take the power safe to use in our homes.
 
  It connects to your house through the service drop and passes through a meter that measures how much our family uses.
 
  The electricity goes to the service panel in your basement or the distribution (junction) box of your building / housing society, where breakers or fuses protect the wires inside your house from being overloaded.
 
  The electricity travels through wires to the outlets and switches all over your house.

 
   
 
 
 
 
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