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What is electricity? How does it get to my home?

This four minute video shows how electricity gets to your home. (Source BurnEnergyJournal.com)

Electricity can be measured in several ways

  1. CURRENT measures the number of electrons through a wire per second. The bigger the wire, the more electrons can flow through it. Current is measured in amperes, of Amps (A).
  2. VOLTAGE measures the amount of pressure pushing electrons through a wire, like the pressure of water in a hose. The more the voltage is increased, the more energy is available to move the electrons through a wire. Voltage is measured in volts (V).
  3. POWER measures the rate of work done by electricity. The higher the voltage and current, the more electric power flows through the lines. Power is measured in watts (W).

How does electricity get to my home?

Generation

Electricity is generated at coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy centers that are strategically located throughout the state of Kansas.

Transmission

Electricity is transmitted from the power plant to the substation at a high voltage, to help cover long distances more efficiently. This power must be converted into lower voltage electricity before it can be used in your home.

Substation

The substation is an important stop along the electric power line. A substation's main job is to take electricity from high-voltage transmission lines and convert it for low-voltage distribution to your neighborhood.

Distribution

Electricity is delivered to your neighborhood over medium-voltage power lines, and then the voltage is reduced again so the electricity can be used in your home. Most homes use about 32 kWh or less of electricity per day, or up to 11,500 kWh of electricity per year. You use electricity to power your refrigerator and other kitchen devices, electronics such as computer and televisions, and your lights, water heater and air conditioner. Many homes also use an additional energy source such as natural gas, propane or solar energy.

How much electricity do I use?



Kanza Education and Science Park
I-70 & MacVicar Ave.
Topeka, KS 66606

The Education Station is open to the public 365 days a year. School field trips are always welcome.
Contact Larry Robbins with USD 501 at 785-295-3063 or by email.

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