From pushing buttons to flicking a switch, electricity is always on tap. But have you ever considered how far electricity has to travel to get to your home? Often the power we use every day is created in generators hundreds of kilometres from our homes. Our energy system, often called the electrical grid, is a complex network of poles and wires that helps to keep our country powered.
From the power plant to your lights at home, let’s take a look at how electricity actually gets from the power station to your home.
All of the electricity that ends up in your home starts life in a power station, which is usually located next to or near an energy source such as a coal plant, hydroelectricity dam, natural gas station or solar and wind farms. In almost all cases the source of energy is used to spin an electrical generator, creating storable, transmittable energy. The power is then carried away through large overhead lines to substations, however, at this stage voltage is usually extremely high and can be over 25,000 volts.
The first stop for the newly generated power is the substation. Substations use transformers to alter the voltage of an electrical current, in this case, the voltage is raised to somewhere between 155,000 to 756,000 volts, which minimises power losses throughout the long journey. Australia’s lines are very efficient on a world standard, with an average loss of around 5%.
Transmission lines send the high voltage power over long distances, often hundreds of kilometres. Transmission networks can be either above or below ground. Above ground lines are easy to spot as they are made from heavy-duty steel pylons. Underground lines are buried beneath the earth and are heavily insulated to prevent currents from leaking into the ground where they can become a hazard.
Second Substation Transformer
After the energy has travelled hundreds of kilometres from a power station, it reaches a second substation transformer. However, unlike the first stop, this substation lowers the voltage to somewhere between 11,000 and 33,000 volts so that the electricity can be channelled into smaller power lines for domestic distribution purposes.
Distribution Power Lines
Distribution power lines take the lowered voltage energy and distribute it to each home. For most residential and commercial uses, there will be another transformer which decreases voltage to as low as 230 volts to make the power safe for home use.
In the final stage the electricity will pass from the final transformer to your home through a meter, which measures your energy usage. It then travels through the wires in your house to switches and sockets, ready to be used as you please!
If you have any questions about the electrical grid or powering your home, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
With over 9 years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing fast and efficient service of the highest quality. If you have any questions regarding electricity in your house or are looking for a quote for electrical installations, repairs, or general maintenance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with HunterCON today.