How Electricity is Produced

December 27th, 2016

Electricity isn’t a raw energy source. It must be created from another fuel source before it reaches your home and powers your lights, electronics and appliances. Here’s a step-by-step summary of how electricity is produced.

  • A fuel source generates energy: The process begins at a power plant compatible with a specific fuel source, such as coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, solar energy, wind, water or bio fuel. Choosing renewable energy sources to produce electricity reduces emissions and makes the electricity more environmentally friendly to produce.
  • A turbine and generator convert the energy into electricity: The chosen fuel source produces steam, gas or liquid, often through heating, which moves the blades of a turbine. The turbine is connected to a rod, which is connected to a generator. The generator converts the mechanical energy of the moving turbine into electrical energy by turning a large magnet surrounded by copper wire. This causes electrons in the copper to move, producing electricity.
  • A transformer increases power voltage: The electric current generated by the magnet and copper wire is carried to a transformer. Here, the voltage increases to at least 500,000 volts.
  • Power lines carry the electricity to substations: High-voltage power lines transfer the electric current from the power plant to one of several substations interconnected on the national power grid. Transformers at each substation decrease the electric voltage to a mid-level usable by large commercial customers, such as factories and shopping malls.
  • Local transformers prepare the electricity for end use: Distribution lines either mounted on poles or buried under ground carry electricity the final leg of the journey to local transformers. These metal devices mounted on poles or concrete pads reduce the voltage down to 220 – 110 volts, making the electricity safe for use in homes and businesses.
  • Electricity enters a home or business through a meter: The final step is to measure the amount of electricity you use. To do this, electricity passes through a meter on its way to a central control that distributes power to every circuit in your home. This is what powers your lights, computers, appliances and anything else you plug into the wall.

Now that you know how electricity is produced, can find a new sense of appreciation for it. To learn more about lowering your electricity rate so you can enjoy a well-lit, cooled and heated home for less, contact UGI EnergyLink or call us at 800-797-0712.