Electricity Transmission and Distribution
When electricity is produced at BELCO's Central Plant, it has to get to all of our customers via¬†power lines that carry the electricity.
As generators spin, they produce electricity with a voltage of about 13,800 volts. A volt is a measurement of the electric force that pushes electrons around a circuit. The term "volt" comes from Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist who invented the first battery. The electricity first goes to a transformer at the power plant that boosts the voltage up to either 22,000 or 34,000 volts. When electricity travels long distances, it is transferred more efficiently at higher voltages.
The long thick conductors in transmission lines are made of copper or aluminum because they have a low resistance. High-voltage transmission lines carry electricity over the long distances to a substation.
The underground, high-voltage transmission power lines go into one of 31 substations across the Island. Here transformers change the very high-voltage electricity back into lower-voltage electricity.
From these substations, electricity at different power levels is distributed to neighborhoods. Once there, another small transformer, mounted on a pole or in a utility box, converts the power to even lower levels to be used in homes. The voltage is eventually reduced to 240 volts for larger appliances, like stoves and clothes dryers, and 120 volts for lights, TVs and other smaller appliances.
When electricity enters a home, it must pass through a meter to measure how much electricity each household uses. After being metered, the electricity goes through a fuse box inside the home. The fuse box protects the house in case of problems such as power surges. Remember: Only let trained electricians who know electricity safety work on the wires when problems arise.