Teacher's Centre : Older Children
How electricity gets from the power station to your home
When the electricity is produced by generators it is at about 25,000 volts. However this is not enough to send it long distances, so the electricity first passes through a transformer at the power station, that boosts the voltage up to 275,000 or 400,000 volts. When electricity travels long distances it is better to do so at higher voltages as the electricity is transferred more efficiently.
When the electricity leaves the transformer it goes into the grid. The grid is the network of cables and wires which are spread across the country. This grid carries the electricity from the generating stations to the towns and cities that will use it. The wires that carry the electricity in the grid are called transmission lines, which are carried across the country by pylons.
Electricity from the grid is much too powerful to use in our homes and businesses. Therefore the high voltage transmission lines carry electricity long distances to a substation. The power lines go into substations near businesses, factories and homes.
Here transformers reduce the very high voltage electricity to 132, 000 Volts before it enters the distribution network, which is the low voltage network.
The regional distribution network carries electricity to substations, where the voltage is again reduced to 11,000 volts. The 11,000 volts network supplies towns, industrial estates, and villages, as well as some industrial customers who have large electricity requirements.
The voltage is once again reduced to 230 volts at local substations to deliver electricity to most homes and businesses.
Understand why electricity comes in different voltages.
- Recognise the different equipment that transports electricity
- Understand why the voltage is reduced for use in the home
- Have a look at every day electrical appliances and check the voltage they use.
- Look at pictures of pylons and poles to see the difference in size.
- Visit a power station.
- Look at the Network display PDF.