Whenever a person needs to turn on a light, start up their computer or use any other electrical device, all they have to do is flip a switch and the electricity is flowing through the wiring and ready to use. When the power goes out, many people still try to flip the switch because it just comes naturally to do so. Today’s modern world is built around the use of electrical appliances, gadgets and systems throughout every home and business. Understanding how the electric companies deliver power to these places can help each person to gain an appreciation for this amazing feat.
Electricity is produced at power plants. The plants operate on fuel such as coal or natural gas. Some electricity plants use renewable resources like solar, hydroelectric or wind power to generate electricity. Nuclear energy is also used to make electricity. During times of high demand, power plants from hundreds of miles away may increase capacity to provide electricity to where it’s needed. Transformers are pieces of electrical equipment that increase the voltage of electricity so that the power can travel over long distances of hundreds of miles.
High voltage power lines are strung atop of tall towers and are located throughout the country. The power is fed into substations where the voltage is lowered and then the current is transmitted through smaller electrical lines called distribution wires. Large cities may have several sub-stations.
The distribution lines pass electrical current through small transformers on top of power poles. These transformers reduce the voltage again. The current passes through a service drop which is connected to a meter that measures how much electricity is used by the household. From the service drop, the current goes to the circuit breaker or fuse box. This is like the “brains” of the house’s electrical system. If the wiring becomes overloaded due to trying to operate too many electrical devices, the breaker will trip or a fuse will blow. Texas Energy gives you many choices.
Inside the House
Wires are connected to each fuse or breaker in the panel. These wires travel through the walls, ceilings and flooring of the house to each electrical outlet and switch. Flipping a switch to the “on” position completes the circuit so that current can flow into the light or appliance. Plugging in an item into the outlet is another way to complete an electrical circuit.