When you walk into a dark room, the first thing you do is to hit the switch and put on the light, and when you spend time outside the house in hot weather, as soon as you get indoors you reach out for something cold in the fridge. But have you ever stopped to think how this technology that has made life so convenient gets to your house? Well, for you to be able to use it in your home or office, the electricity has to go through a long process. It can be generated from various power plants using materials like coal, natural gas, water and wind. Once it is produced, it then has to be transported through long distances. Before this is done, the current is lowered and the voltage increased in a process called “stepping up”. All this happens inside transformers and then the high voltage electricity is transported through thick lines that can withstand the high voltage.
After this stage, the electricity is then brought nearer to our homes, but before it is safe for us to use, the current must be increased and the voltage lowered. This happens in substations and current then flows through thinner wires. It is then passed through transformers that “step down” or lower the voltage further, and from here it is led straight to our home meters. From here, the electricity travels to a service panel that can be found either in the garage or basement that has a fuse to ensure that no excess current can bypass it since this can cause damage to home appliances. Lastly, from the service panels the current flows to the wires inside the house or office where you can use it to run many appliances.
Infographic by electricians