Electricity is always there when you flick a switch or plug something in, but electricity has to travel a long way to get to your home. Electricity is fed into your home or school through cables, which are either hung from poles or run underground. It is initially sent at very high voltages, but this decreases as it gets closer to you, making it safe to use.
1. Inside the power plant, coal, oil or gas is burned in a big boiler to create steam. If the plant is hydro-electric, water is used.
2. The steam is used to spin a big fan, known as a turbine. The turbine turns a big magnet inside a generator – like an electric motor that works in reverse - to create an electrical current.
3. The electricity is sent through a transformer to make it the right voltage. This gives the electricity enough pressure to travel long distances.
4. Big high-voltage transmission lines carry the electricity to your city or suburb.
5. It passes through sub-stations, where the voltage is lowered to make it safe to use in our homes.
6. It travels through smaller power lines to your house.
7. It passes through an electricity meter that measures how much your family uses.
8. The electricity goes to the switchboard in your home, where it is divided into different circuits for each area of your house.
9. The electricity travels through wires inside the walls to outlets and switches all over your house.
10. You can use the electricity to switch on lights, watch TV, listen to music and cook dinner!
See how electricity is distributed to your home.