Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 20




Electricity is all around uspowering technology like our cell phones, computers, lights,
soldering irons, and air conditioners. Its tough to escape it in our modern world. Even when you
try to escape electricity, its still at work throughout nature, from the lightning in a thunderstorm
to the synapses inside our body. Electricity is also vital to the operation of many industries. It
occurs naturally in the world and is also artificially created by human beings. An example of
man-made electricity is the creation of electricity at a power plant by means of a large turbine
and a generator. It is one of the most important sources of energy.

Electricity is defined as a type of energy that involves the flow of electrons. It is the flow of
electric charge. It occurs when an atom gains or loses an electron. The number of electrons in
an atom usually equals the number of protons, or positively charged particles. When this
balance is upset, such as when two distinct surfaces are rubbed together, an atom may gain or
lose an electron. The resulting free movement of a "lost" electron is what creates an electric

Electricity has no clear definition since it is so often misused to describe a variety of
phenomenon. People commonly use the term electricity to describe electric charge , electric
current , and electrical energy . Different definitions of electricity can be found in different
places, underscoring our incomplete picture of the complexity of this natural phenomenon.

Electric charge is a fundamental property of some subatomic particles. Electrons have a
electric charge of -1 and a proton has the charge of +1, as do other subatomic particles and
ions. Electric current describes a flow of electric charge. Electric current is either Direct Current
(DC) a single-direction flow, or Alternating Current (AC) which describes a current that
repeatedly changes direction. Electrical energy is a form of energy present in an electric field or
magnetic field; electrical energy is measured in joules. Electric power is the name given to
electrical energy production and distribution.

- "Electricity" means electric charge.
Examples: charges of electricity, coulombs of electricity
- "Electricity" refers to the flowing motion of electric charge.
Examples: current electricity, amperes of electricity
- "Electricity" means electrical energy.
Examples: price of electricity, kilowatt-hours of electricity
- "Electricity" refers to the amount of imbalance between quantities of electrons and
Example: static electricity
- "Electricity" is a class of phenomena involving electric charges.
Examples: bioelectricity, piezoelectricity, triboelectricity, thermoelectricity,
atmospheric electricity ...etc.

While electricity is a form of energy, it is not an energy source. It is not harvested or
mined; it must be manufactured. Electricity comes from the conversion of other sources of
energy, such as coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, solar power, and others. And because it is
not easily stored in quantity, electricity must be manufactured at or near the time of demand.


The science of electricity has its roots in observation, known in 600 BC that a rubbed piece of
amber will attract a bit of straw. The study of magnetism goes back to the observation that
certain naturally occurring stones attract iron. The two sciences were separate until 1820
when Hans Christian Oersted saw the connection between them an electric current in a
wire will affect a compass needle.
Around 600 BC Greeks found that by rubbing a hard fossilized resin (Amber) against a fur
cloth, it would attract particles of straw. This strange effect remained a mystery for over 2000
Around 1600, William Gilbert, a physician who lived in London at the time of Queen Elizabeth
I and Shakespeare, studied magnetic phenomena and demonstrated that the Earth itself
was a huge magnet, by means of his "terrella" experiment. He also studied the attraction
produced when materials were rubbed, and named it the "electric" attraction. From that
came the word "electricity" and all others derived from it.
During the 1800s it became evident that electric charge had a natural unit, which could not
be subdivided any further, and in 1891 Johnstone Stoney proposed to name it "electron."
When J.J. Thomson discovered the particle which carried that charge, the name "electron"
was applied to it. He won the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his discovery.

In 1752, Franklin proved that lightning and the spark from
amber were one and the same thing. This story is a familiar one, in
which Franklin fastened an iron spike to a silken kite, which he flew
during a thunderstorm, while holding the end of the kite string by an
iron key. When lightening flashed, a tiny spark jumped from the key
to his wrist. The experiment proved Franklin's theory, but was
extremely dangerous - he could easily have been killed.

In 1786, Luigi Galvani, an Italian professor of medicine, found
that when the leg of a dead frog was touched by a metal
knife, the leg twitched violently. Galvani thought that the
muscles of the frog must contain electricity.

By 1792, another Italian scientist, Alessandro Volta, disagreed:
he realized that the main factors in Galvani's discovery were the
two different metals - the steel knife and the tin plate - upon
which the frog was lying. Volta showed that when moisture
comes between two different metals, electricity is created. This
led him to invent the first electric battery, the voltaic pile, which
he made from thin sheets of copper and zinc separated by
moist pasteboard.
In this way, a new kind of electricity was discovered, electricity
that flowed steadily like a current of water instead of
discharging itself in a single spark or shock. Volta showed that
electricity could be made to travel from one place to another by
wire, thereby making an important contribution to the science of
electricity. The unit of electrical potential, the Volt, is named after

The credit for generating electric current on a practical scale
goes to the famous English scientist, Michael Faraday. Faraday was
greatly interested in the invention of the electromagnet, but his
brilliant mind took earlier experiments still further. If electricity could
produce magnetism, why couldn't magnetism produce electricity?

In 1831, Faraday found the solution. Electricity could be produced
through magnetism by motion. He discovered that when a magnet
was moved inside a coil of copper wire, a tiny
electric current flows through the wire. Of course, by today's standards,
Faraday's electric generator was crude (and provided only a small
electric current), but he had discovered the first method of generating
electricity by means of motion in a magnetic field. Faraday also
realized that the electric force is transmitted by an electric field.

Nearly 40 years went by before a really
practical DC (Direct Current) generator was built by
Thomas Edison.

In 1878 Joseph Swan, a British scientist,
invented the incandescent filament lamp and
within twelve months Edison made a similar
discovery in America. Swan and Edison later set up
a joint company to produce the first practical
filament lamp. Prior to this, electric lighting had
been crude arc lamps.

Edison used his DC generator to provide electricity to light his laboratory and later to
illuminate the first New York street to be lit by electric lamps, in September 1882. Edison's
successes were not without controversy, however - although he was convinced of the merits
of DC for generating electricity, other scientists in Europe and America recognized that DC
brought major disadvantages.
A breakthrough came in 1888 when the Serbian-born American
Nikola Tesla discovered the principles of alternating current
(AC), a type of electric current that reverses direction at regular
intervals and uses transformers to transmit large blocks of
electrical power at high voltages. (Voltage refers to the pressure
or force that causes electrons to move.) Tesla went on to
patent a motor that generated AC. Around the turn of the
twentieth century, it was clear that the future of electricity in this
country and elsewhere lay with AC rather than DC. This new
source of energy had so many practical applications that it
greatly changed the way people lived. Inventors and scientists
developed electric devices that enabled people to
communicate across great distances and to process information quickly. The demand for
electric energy grew steadily during the 1900s. Today the unit of measurement for magnetic
fields commemorates Tesla's name.
When Edison's generator was coupled with Watt's steam engine, large
scale electricity generation became a practical proposition. James
Watt, the Scottish inventor of the steam condensing engine, was born in
1736. His improvements to steam engines were patented over a period
of 15 years, starting in 1769 and his name was given to the electric unit
of power, the Watt.

Andre Marie Ampere, a French mathematician who devoted
himself to the study of electricity and magnetism, was the first to explain
the electro-dynamic theory. A permanent memorial to Ampere is the use
of his name for the unit of electric current.

George Simon Ohm, a German mathematician and physicist, was a
college teacher in Cologne when in 1827 he published, "The Galvanic
Circuit Investigated Mathematically". His theories were coldly received
by German scientists, but his research was recognized in Britain and he
was awarded the Copley Medal in 1841. His name has been given to
the unit of electrical resistance.

James Clerk Maxwell (1831 - 1879) developed the laws of
electromagnetism in the form we know them today: Maxwells Equations.
Maxwells Equations are to electromagnetism what Newtons Laws are to
gravity. It was Maxwell who realized the light is electromagnetic in nature.

Edison's carbonized sewing thread and bamboo filaments were not used in incandescent
bulbs for long. Around 1910, chemists at the General Electric Company developed a much
improved filament materialtungsten. This metal offered many advantages over its
predecessorsa higher melting point, a tensile strength greater than steel, a much brighter
light, and it could easily be shaped into coils. So good was tungsten that it is still used in
incandescent lightbulbs. But today, incandescent lightbulbs are not the only option for
consumers. Other lighting choices include fluorescent and halogen lamps. Fluorescent lamps
produce light by passing electricity through mercury vapor, causing the fluorescent coating
to glow. This type of light is common outdoors and in industrial and commercial uses. Another
type of incandescent lamp, called halogen, produces light using a halogen gas, such as
iodine or bromine, that causes the evaporating tungsten to be returned to the filament.
Halogen bulbs are often used in desk and reading lamps. They can last up to four times
longer than other incandescent bulbs.



Electricity starts with electrons. Every atom contains one or more electrons, together with
nucleons (called protons and neutrons). Protons have a positive charge, neutrons have no
charge, and electrons have a negative charge. Electrons move in and out of fixed pathways
around the nucleus. Changing the number of electrons in a particular type of atom creates an
ion of that atom.

All materials are made of atoms, in some the electrons are tightly bound to the atoms,
such as wood, glass, plastic, ceramic, air and cotton. These are all examples of material in which
the electrons stick with their atoms very tightly. Because the electrons will not move, these
materials cannot conduct electricity very well, if at all. These materials are electrical insulators in
contrast to other materials which have electrons that can detach from their atoms and move
around. Electrons in the outer rings or shells of atoms are bound more loosely to the nucleus.
Such electrons tend to break free from the nucleus and wander around amongst other nearby
atoms. These are called free electrons. Metals, i.e. gold, silver, copper, aluminum, iron, etc. all
have freely movable electrons. Such movement of these free electrons creates an electric
current. The loose electrons make it easy for electricity, or the electrons, to move or flow through
these materials so they are known as electrical conductors. They conduct electricity. In these
conductors, only negative charges are free to move, whereas in another type as electrolytes,
both negative and positive charges can move. Semi-conductors are in-between conductors
and insulators in their ability to conduct electricity, wherein conductivity can be greatly
enhanced by adding small amounts of other elements. It requires quantum physics to truly
understand how they work.


For electric current to flow, there has to be a source of electrical energy and a complete
pathway for it a complete circuit. Electric circuits are made up of electrical components. These
components refer to the light bulb, wires and a source of electrical energy (e.g. battery). These
components must be joined together without any gap in between to form a closed circuit. A
closed circuit is an unbroken path of conductors through which electric current flows. An open
circuit is a circuit with a break in the conductive path, so no current flows. A series circuit is an
electrical circuit with only one path for the electrical current to follow. A parallel circuit is an
electrical circuit that provides more than one path for the electrical current to follow.


Symbols are used to represent the various electrical components in circuits.

An electrical component that is specially made to have a
certain resistance is called a resistor. They can be connected
in a circuit to resist the current flow.
A switch is used to open or close
a circuit.

Switch used in

Switch used on
circuit boards

Examples of circuit diagrams:

Series Circuit Diagram:

A series circuit connects the
components one after the other
A single loop is formed
A break in any part of a series
circuit stops the flow of current in
the whole circuit

Parallel Circuit Diagram:

A parallel circuit divides into two
or more branches
The current divides and flows
through each parallel branch
If a component breaks or is
removed, the other components
remain on

Whether you are using a battery, a fuel cell to produce electricity, there are three things that are
always the same.
1. A source of electricity will have two terminals, a positive terminal and a negative
terminal. The source of electricity (whether it is a generator or battery, etc) will want to push
electrons out of its negative terminal at a certain voltage. For example, an AA battery typically
wants to push electrons out at 1.5 volts.
2. The electrons will need to flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal
through a copper wire or some other conducting material.
3. When there is a path that goes from the negative to the positive terminal, you have a
circuit and electrons can flow through the wire. You can place a load of any type, light bulb,
motor, TV, etc. in the middle of the circuit. The source of electricity will power the load and the
load will do its thing (create lights, spin as a shaft, generate moving pictures, etc.)
Electrical circuits can get quite complex, but at the simplest level, we always have a source of
electricity (a battery, etc), a load (a light bulb, motor, etc.) and two wires to carry electricity
between the battery and the load. Electrons move from the source through the load and back
to the source or home.

Moving electrons have energy. As the electrons move from one point to another, they can do
work. In an incandescent light bulb for example, the energy of the electrons is used to create
heat and the heat, in turn, creates light. In an electrical motor, the energy in the electron
creates a magnetic field, and this field can interact with other magnets through magnetic
attraction and repulsion to create motion. Each electric appliance harnesses the energy of
electrons in some way to create the useful side effect (motion).


Thermal - Typical sources of thermal energy are heat from
underground hot springs, combustion of fossil fuels and
biomass (per above) or industrial processes.
Geothermal - Most power plants need steam to generate electricity. The steam rotates a
turbine that activates a generator, which produces electricity. Many power plants still use
fossil fuels to boil water for steam. Geothermal power plants, however, use steam produced
from reservoirs of hot water found a couple of miles or more below the Earth's surface. There
are three types of geothermal power plants: dry steam, flash steam, and binary cycle.
Nuclear - This is the energy stored in the bonds inside atoms and molecules. When nuclear
energy is released, it can emit radioactivity and heat (thermal energy) as well.
Hydroelectric - The theory is to build a dam
on a large river that has a large drop in
elevation. The dam stores lots of water
behind it in the reservoir. Near the bottom
of the dam wall there is the water intake.
Gravity causes it to fall through the
penstock inside the dam. At the end of the
penstock there is a turbine propeller, which
is turned by the moving water. The shaft
from the turbine goes up into the generator,
which produces the power. Power lines are
connected to the generator that carries
electricity to your home and mine. The
water continues past the propeller through the tailrace into the river past the dam.
Solar - Energy radiates from the sun and the light rays can be captured with photovoltaics
and semiconductors. Mirrors can be used to concentrate
the power, and the suns heat is also a thermal source.
Wind Wind turbines use the winds kinetic energy to
generate electrical energy that can be used in homes
and businesses. Individual wind turbines can be used to
generate electricity on a small scale to power a single
home, for example. A large number of wind turbines
grouped together, sometimes known as a wind farm or
wind park, can generate electricity on a much larger

Energy from one of the sources is converted by machines at the power plant to electricity and
then put onto the Electric Power Grid.


Movement of the electrons physically from one place to another is slow. Transfer of the
energy from one electron to another happens fast. The moving electrons transmit electrical
energy from one point to another. Electricity needs a conductor or path in order to move. There
also has to be a reason or force to make the electron want to move from one point to another.
One way to get electrons to flow is to use a generator or push them by passing an
electromagnetic field over the material, which will motivate the electrons to move.


A generator uses a magnet and its fields to get electrons moving. There is an inseparable
link between electricity and magnetism. If an electron moves, it creates a magnetic field. If a
magnetic field moves near an electron, it makes the electron move. This interaction is how a
generator creates electricity. If you allow electrons to move through a wire, they will create a
magnetic field around the wire. Similarly, if you move the magnet near the wire, the magnetic
field will cause electrons in the wire to move. The generator is a simple device that moves the
magnet near a wire to create a steady flow of electrons in the wire. One simple way to think
about a generator is to imagine it acting like a pump, pushing water along. Instead of pushing
water, however, a generator uses a magnet to push electrons along. There are two things that a
water pump can do with water: 1)a water pump moves a certain number of water molecules, 2)
a water pump applies a certain pressure to the water molecules in the same way a magnet
does in a generator.
1. Can push a certain number of electrons along (amperage or current, I).
2. Applies a certain amount of pressure to the electrons (voltage, V).
3. The size and resistance of the pipe will be discussed later (resistance, r).

Generation: Generating Power and Getting it to the Consumer


Lets say that you turn on your heater, you go outside and you look at the power meter. The
purpose of the power meter is to measure the amounts of electricity flowing into your house so
that the power company can keep accurate records of the amount of electricity for which they
bill you. Lets assume that nothing else in the house is on so that meter is measuring only the
electricity used by the space heater. Your space heater is using 1200 watts. That is 1.2 kilowatts. If
you leave the space heater on for one hour, you will use 1.2 kilowatt-hours of electric power. If
your power company charges you 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, then the power company will
charge you 12 cents for every hour that you leave your space heater on.

The three most basic units of electricity are: voltage (V), current (I) and resistance (r). As
discussed previously, voltage is a measure of volts and current is a measure in amps. Resistance
is measured in ohms. You can extend the water analogy a bit further to understand resistance,
which is measured in ohms. Voltage is equivalent to the water pressure, the current is equivalent
to the flow rate, and resistance is like the pipe size and resistance to flow. There is a basic
equation in electrical engineering that states how the three terms relate. It says that current is
equal to the voltage divided by the resistance, I = V/r. Lets say you have a tank of pressurized
water connected to a hose that you are using to water the garden. What happens if you
increase the pressure in the tank? You probably can guess. This makes more water come out of
the hose. The same is true of an electrical system. Increasing the voltage will make more current
flow, or electrons flow. Lets say you increase the diameter of the hose and all the fittings to the
tank. You probably guessed that this also makes more water come out of the hose. This is like
decreasing the resistance in an electrical system, which allows an increase in the current flow.

This is also where different materials demonstrate high and low resistance, i.e. wood, aluminum,
copper, steel, etc. Each one has it own ability to resist or enhance electron flow. When you look
at a normal incandescent light bulb, you can physically see the water analogy in action. The
filament of the light bulb is an extremely thin wire. This thin wire resists the flow of electrons. You
can calculate the resistance in the wire with a resistance equation. Lets say you have 120 watt
light bulb plugged into a wall socket of 120 volts. The voltage is 120V and the 120 watt bulb has 1
amp flowing through it (one Amp x 120 v equals 120 watt bulb). You can calculate the
resistance of the filament by rearranging the equation. r=V/I ?=120/1. So the resistance is 120
ohms. If it is a 60 watt light bulb, the resistance is 240 ohms. (?=120/0.5)

Beyond these core electronic concepts, there is a practical distinction that happens in the area
of current. Some currents are direct and some current is alternating and this is a very important


Batteries, fuel cells, solar cells all produce something called direct current (DC). The positive and
negative terminals of the battery are always marked positive and negative. Current always
flows in the same direction between those two terminals. Power that comes from the power
plant, on the other hand, is called alternating current (AC). The direction of the current reverses,
or alternates back and forth, 60 times per second like a line of pool balls being pushed back
and forth. The energy which shakes the balls (electrons) at the generator is transmitted down the
wire and transferred to the appliances in the home or business.

In the United States, this alternating power moves at 60 times per second, or 50 times per second
in Europe. That is why there are different types of plugs. The power that is available at the wall
socket in the United States is 120 volts, 60 cycle AC power, single phase. The AC power system is
relatively low voltage and safe the humans. The big advantage that AC power provides is its
relative ease of transmission over long distances using transformers. Power companies can save
a lot of energy (money) in heavy wire and extra work.

Here is how it works:
Lets say that you have a power plant that can produce 1 million watts of power. One way to
transmit that power would be to send 1 million amps at 1 volt. Another way to transmit it would
be to send 1 amp at 1 million volts. Sending 1 amp requires only a thin wire and not much of the
power is lost to heat during that transmission. Sending 1 million amps would require a huge wire
and still there would be major loss of energy. The power companies convert alternating power
to very high voltage alternating power for transmission, i.e. 1 million volts, then they drop it back
down to lower voltages at the distribution points and finally drop it down to 120 volts inside the
house for safety. It is a lot harder to kill someone with 120 volts than with 1 million volts. Most
electric deaths are prevented all together by using ground fault interrupter circuitry to prevent
these accidents.


When the subject of electricity comes up, you will often hear about electric grounding, or just
ground. For example, electric generators will say, Be sure to attach to an earth ground before
using, or an appliance might warn do not use without an appropriate ground or grounded
plug. It turns out that the power company uses the earth as one of the wires in the power
system. The earth is an excellent conductor and it is used so it makes good return paths for
electrons. Ground in the power distribution grid is literally the ground that is all around you when
you are walking outside in the dirt, rocks, etc. The power distribution connects into the ground
many times.

The wires labeled as grounding wire are bare wires coming down the side of the pole and
connecting the aerial wire directly to the ground. Every utility pole on the planet has a bare wire
like this. If you ever watch the power company install a new pole, you will see that the end of
the bare wire is stapled in a coil to the base of the pole. That coil is in direct contact with the
earth once the pole is installed and buried 6-10 under ground giving a good, solid ground
connection. If you examine the pole carefully, you will see the ground wire running between
poles and often the guide wires are attached to this direct wire connected to the ground.
Similarly, near the power meter at your house or apartment, there is a 6 or 2 meter long copper
rod driven into the ground. The ground plugs and all the natural plugs in every outlet in your
house connect to this rod. That is how power is grounded.


Power travels from the power plant to your house through an amazing system called power
distribution grid. Power grid distribution lines can be above or under ground. The grid is quite
public. If you live in a suburban or rural, chances are it is right out in the open for all to see.

Electric Power Grid
Power Plants
Transmission Lines
Power Lines
Electrical Wiring and Circuit Box

Electric power starts at the power plant. In almost all cases, the power plant consists of a
spinning electric generator. Something has to spin that generator, i.e. a windmill, a nuclear
powered steam turbine, waterfall, coal, oil, gasoline, natural gas or combination thereof. But, in
most cases, the thing spinning the generator is a steam turbine. The steam might be created by
burning coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear fuel, or the steam may come from underground sources.

Single-phase power is what we have in our homes. We generally talk about household electric
service as a single-phase 120 volt, AC service. If you use an oscilloscope and look at the power
found in a normal wall plug in your home, what you will find is that the power in the wall looks like
a sine wave and that wave oscillates between 170 volts positive and negative. The peaks are,
indeed, at 170 volts. It is the effect RMS volt that is 120 volts; In other words, the effective electron

pushing power. The rate of oscillation for the sine wave is 60 cycles per second in the United
States and 50 cycles in Europe. Oscillating power like this is generally referred to as AC, or
alternating current. AC power has at least three advantages over DC power in a power
distribution grid:
One: large electrical generators happen to generate AC naturally, so conversion to DC
would involve an extra step.
Two: you can use transformers to transfer power over great distances.
Three: It is easy to convert AC to DC, but expensive to convert DC to AC, so if you were
going to pick one or the other, AC would be the better choice and it has worked that
way for 100 years.
The power plant, therefore, produces AC power in three phases.

Power plant produces three phase power for all to use but a household only needs one of these
phases. Power plant produces three different phases of AC power simultaneously and the three
phases are offset 120 degrees from each other. There are four wires coming out of every power
plant: the three phases, plus a neutral or ground common to all three. If you were to look at the
three phases on a graph, they would look like this relative to the ground. Again, a sine wave, but
crowded together. There is nothing magical about three phase power. It is simply single-phase
synchronized and offset by 120 degrees or three single-phase wires together. Why three phase,
why not one or two or four?

In one-phase or two-phase power, there are 120 moments per second when a sine wave is
crossing the zero point of voltage. In three-phase power, at any given moment, one of the three
phases is nearly at peak. High power of three-phase motors used in industries therefore has more
power output or requirements. Four-phase would not significantly improve things, but would add
a fourth wire. So three-phase is a natural settle point for industries, both to produce and
consume high levels of power.

The three-phase power leaves the generation station or power plant and enters the transmission
substation at the power plant. The substation uses large transformers to convert the generated
electricity voltage which is at thousands volts level up to extremely high voltage for long
distance transmission. All power towers have three wires with three phases. Many towers have
extra wires running along the top of these. These are ground wires and are there primarily to
attempt to attract lightning and diffuse it into the ground.

For the power to be useful in a home or business, it comes off the transmission grid and is
stepped down to the distribution grid. This may happen in several phases. The place where the
conversion from transmission to distribution occurs is in the
power substation. A power substation typically does two
or three things. It has transformers that step transmission
voltage in the tens of hundreds of thousands of voltage
down to distribution voltage, typically less than ten
thousand volts. It has a bus that can split the distribution
power off in multiple directions. It often has circuit
breakers as switches so that the substation can be
disconnected from the transmission grid or separate
distribution lines can be disconnected from the substation
when necessary.
Pad Transformers : for underground grids
Pole Transformers : for overhead grids.

The power goes from the transformer to the distribution bus. The smaller transformer attaches to
the bus for stepping the power down to standard line voltage, usually 7,200 volts for one set of
lines, while power leaves in the other direction at a higher voltage off the main transformer. The
power leaves the substation in two sets of three wires, each heading down the road in different
directions. The wires at the higher voltage need to be stepped down again, which will often
happen at another substation or small transformer somewhere down the line. In a typical scene,
the three wires on the top of a pole
are the three wires of the three-
phase power. The fourth wire on the
poles is a ground wire and in some
cases there will be an additional
wire, typical phone or cable wire,
riding on the same pole.

You will also find regulator banks
located along the lines, either
underground or in the air. They
regulate the voltage in the line
preventing over and under voltage
conditions. At the top are three
switches that allow these regulator
banks to be disconnected for
maintenance, if necessary. At this
point, we have typical line voltages
that are 7,200 volts running through
the neighborhood with three wires
with the fourth ground wire lower
on the pole.

A house needs only one of the
three phases of power. So, typically
you will see three wires running
down the main road and taps for
one or two of the phases running
off on side streets.
Finally, we are down to the wire that brings power to your house. Past the typical house runs a
set of poles with one-phase of power, 7,200 volts and a ground wire. At each house there is a
transformer drum attached to the pole. In many suburban neighborhoods, the distribution lines
are underground and there are green transformer boxes at every house or two. The
transformers job is to reduce the 7,200 volts down to 240 volts that makes up normal household
electric service.
There are two wires running out of the transformer and three wires running to the house. The two
from the transformer are insulated and the third wire is bare. The bare wire is the ground wire. The
two insulated wires each carry 120 volts, but they are 180 degrees out of phase. So, the
difference between them is 240 volts. This arrangement allows the household to use both 120
and 240 volt appliances. The 240 volt enters your house through a typical kilowatt-hour meter.
The meter is an electric motor (electromechanical) and the amount of load and frequency of
turns is measured by the dials that calculate the electric bill. The newer meters are not motors
but circuits designed to measure power and transmit the data back to the power provider.

Fuses and circuit breakers are safety devices. Lets say that you do not have fuses or circuit
breakers in your home and something went wrong. What could possibly go wrong? Here are
some examples:
A fan motor burns out a bearing, seizing, overheating and melting, causing a direct
connection between power and ground. A wire comes loose in a lamp and directly connects
power to the ground. A mouse chews through an insulation in a wire and directly connects
power to ground. Someone accidentally vacuums up a lamp wire with a vacuum cleaner,
cutting it in the process and directly connecting it to the ground. A person is hanging a picture in
the living room and the nail used for hanging happens to puncture the power line in the wall
directly connecting the power to ground.

When the 120 volt power line connects directly to ground, its goal is to pump as much electricity
as possible through the connection, and either the device or the wire in the wall will burst into
flames in such a situation. The wire in the wall will get hot like an element in an electric oven gets
hot, which is to say, very hot. A fuse is a simple device designed to overheat and burn out
rapidly. In such a situation, a fuses thin piece of foil or wire quickly evaporates and kills the
power to the wire immediately protecting it from overheating. Fuses must be replaced, they
cannot be reset. A circuit breaker uses the heat from the overload to trip the switch. Therefore,
the circuit breakers are resettable. The power enters the home from the typical circuit breaker

Inside the circuit breaker panel, secondary wires from the transformer enter the main circuit
breaker at the top. The main breaker lets you cut power to the entire panel when necessary.
Within this overall setup, all the wires of the different outlets and lights in the house each have a
separate circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker is on, then power flows through the wire in the wall
and makes its way eventually to the final destination the outlets or appliances.


Electric Meters are either electro-mechanical, (essentially a small motor) with the wheel or
digital, (a precision shunt) without the wheel. Either type may be fitted with a remote reader for
the meter reader to access from the street outside your home. Amp probe clamp-on or solid
circular core is the reverse of a generator. When an electron passes through the wire, the amp-
probe is clamped around, and current is induced then measured in the amp-probes core. Hall
effect sensor or secondary voltage calibration are methods of measurement. Alternatively a
simple open core can be placed around a current-carrying wire and a pressure or voltage
signal will be generated which is directly proportionate to current flow. Superposition metal
cores are open architect cores which can assume special shapes and read the
electromagnetic field generated by current flowing in one, two or three wire sets without
disrupting the wires cover or continuity. Calibration is performed with precision loads which are
placed in the circuit and read remotely. Generally we are billed at a money rate per kilowatt
hour used. Additional cost is administrative and moral considerations.
Your bill always provides you with a breakdown of the charges. Here's your guide to
understanding what each of these costs represent:
1. Account Name and Billing Address
- Refers to the account holder and the address to which the bill is delivered.
2. Customer Service Lines
- For inquiries, please call our 24-hour
service hotline or visit our website.
3. Branch/Collecting Office
- The address and contact number of your
branch/collecting office
4. Your Service Information
Your Service Identification Number
(SIN): The most important piece of
information when paying, inquiring
on your service account or your bill,
etc. For faster service, please have
this available when transacting with
the Call Center or your branch
Your Rate Classification: Identifies
your type of service - Residential,
General Service, Government
Hospi-tal/Metered Streetlight,
Industrial, Non Industrial or Flat
Streetlight. This determines how you
are billed.
Contract Name and Service
Address: Refers to the location of
the electric service.
5. Your Billing Information
Bill Date: The date your bill was generated.
Billing Period: The period of electric consumption being billed.
Due Date: The date to settle your bill to avoid disconnection.
Total kWh: The amount of electricity you consumed during the billing period.
Total Current Amount: The amount due for the current billing period.
6. Summary of Your Charges - A table that summarizes your charges for the current billing
period. The breakdown of these items is at the back of the bill.
7. Announcements - Watch this space for tips, news, and promos.
8. Your Consumption History - A graph that shows your electric consumption in the last 13 months
that is useful in monitoring your usage.
9. Bill Stub - A stub with payment-related information that is torn off when paying at any branch
or collecting office,or at any third party agent.
10. Bill Stub - This lists your meters and their corresponding readings for the billing period. Your
kWh consumption is de-termined by subtracting the Previous from the Present readings and
multiplying it by the Multiplier.
11. The Details of Your Charges - For every Peso paid for the electric bill, approximately 13
centavos goes to Meralco, and around 87 centavos goes to power suppliers and government.
Meralco collects and remits to them each time you pay; that way, you only have one bill to pay.
This is the breakdown of your charges:
Generation - This goes to the generating companies (National Power Corporation and
Independ-ent Power Producers) or power suppliers.
Transmission - This goes to the Transmission Company (Trans-Co).
System Loss - This is the recovery of the cost of power loss due to technical and non-
technical system losses.
Distribution - These charges go to Meralco and cover the many services and tasks it
performs, such as:
The cost of building, operating and maintaining its distri-bution system;
Billing, collection, customer service, records maintenance, and associated services;
Reading, operating and maintaining power metering fa-cilities;
Adjustments for the unavoidable fluctuations in the ex-change rate of the Philippine
Peso against the US Dollar.
Subsidies - The subsidies under this group provide for so-cialized pricing mechanisms for
marginalized customers and the different customer classifications.
Goverment Taxes and Universal Charges - These subgroups include taxes and other
charges remitted to the
national and local
governments and the
Power Sector Assets and
Liabilities Management
Corporation (PSALM).
These remittances are
used to fund the
electrification of remote
areas not connected to
the transmission system.
Charges - These refer to
items not included above
like backbillings,
application of refund, pre-
payments, etc.
12. a. and b. Additional
Information - Related
information, like price
changes, your refund
balance, etc.
13. Contact Information -
The contact number of
Meralco and the Energy
Regulatory Commission
(ERC) for complaints and
other in-quiries.
14. Payment Tips and
Instructions - Handy tips
when paying or looking for
other payment options.


1 Kilowatt-Hour (kWh): The amount of energy used by a 1000W device for one hour

Alternating Current (AC) : current continually changes direction.
Atom : The smallest particle of matter that retains the physical characteristics of an element

Charge : An electrical force that causes two particles to be attracted to, or repelled from, each
other. Protons have a positive charge and electrons have a negative charge
Conductivity : The ease with which an element or compound conducts electricity. The fewer
valance shell electrons, the easier to force the atom to give up free electrons. The best
conductors contain one valance electron per atom. With more atoms per unit volume a given
voltage generate more free electrons.
Conductor : Extremely low resistance, conducts with very little voltage applied, copper, silver,
Current : The directed flow of charge through a conductor

Direct Current (DC) : current is in one direction only
Distribution Grids: Final element in the transmission system. It begins at distribution substation and
ends at customers residence. May be overhead or underground. Includes poles, overhead
wires and transformers, also underground conductors and pad transformers. Distribution levels
Distribution Grid Transformers: They step down distribution grid voltages to levels that required by
customers. They provide fault isolation to prevent its effects at other points on the grid.
Distribution Substation : Connects subtransmission lines to local distribution lines. (2.4kV-33kV)

Electrons : Particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom. Every electron has both an electric
charge(negative) and a magnetic field
Energy measurement : determined by measuring the amount of power used and the time over
which it is used

Free Electron: One that is not bound to an atom and is free to drift from one atom to another

Generator : A dynamo that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.
Grid: Describes power generating plant, transmission lines, distribution systems and substations
that make up an AC power distribution system.

Hydroelectric Plant : converts kinetic energy in flowing water to electrical energy.Insulator :
Extremely high resistance, conducts only when an extremely high voltage is applied, rubber,
teflon, mica

Load : The current demand on the output of a circuit

Motor : A dynamo that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy.

Nucleus : The central core of atom, contains proton and neutron

Ohm: One ohm is the amount of resistance that limits current to one ampere when one volt of
electrical force is applied
Overhead Transmission Lines: Used to transmit electrical energy in the form of 3 phase AC.
Begins at step-up transformer and end at substation step-down transformer. Typically 500km or
less, use uninsulated aluminum conductor or aluminum conductor steel reinforced (ACSR).
345kV-465kV lines need extra precautions(increasing distance between lines) to prevent
Overload : A load that exceeds the design limits of a circuit

Parallel Circuit : A circuit that provides more than one current path between any two points
Power : Amount of energy used per unit time
Power Distribution : Process of reducing transmitted power to customer-usable levels and
delivering that power to local homes and industries.
Power Distribution System: Includes lines, poles, transformers, and switching and protection
circuits that deliver electrical energy to customers at usable voltage levels. Lines may be
above/under ground, transformers may be pole/pad mounted.
Power Generation : Process of converting one type of energy (mostly mechanical) into electrical
energy.(2.3kV and 33kV). Using moving water, nuclear fuels, fossil fuels, solar, geothermal, wind
Power Transmission : Process of delivering generated power (over long distances) to distribution
circuits. that are located in populated areas. High voltage lines. Transformers are used to
increase voltage levels to make long range power transmission feasible.

Resistance : The opposition to current provided by a material, component or circuit. The intensity
of current , the amount of charge flowing per second.

Semiconductor : Midway between conductor and insulator, limits current at a given voltage,
graphite, silicon
Series Circuit : A circuit that contains only one current path
Shells : Electron orbital paths that circle the nucleus, each contains 22 electrons
Step-Down Substation : Connects transmission lines and subtransmission or distribution lines.
Step-Up Substation : Connects power generating plant to transmission lines. (115kV-765kV)
Substations: Utility stations that contain transformers that increase or decrease voltage levels,
overload protection circuits and switching circuits (to draw from multiple sources & to direct
output between loads). Voltage regulators, input/output switching circuits, control circuits
Subtransmission Lines: Lines carry voltages typically between 26kV-69kV to regional substations.
Underground Transmission Lines : Where overhead transmission lines can not be used. Insulated

Thermal Power Plant : uses heat to convert water to steam, and then
uses steam as the prime mover for its turbine.
Transmission Lines: High voltage lines used to transmit electrical energy over long distances.
Overhead lines / Underground lines / Subtransmission lines (carries lower voltages)

Voltage : A force that generates the flow of electrons (current). A difference of potential that
generates current, is a force that moves electrons electric force(E), electromotive force (EMF).
Amount of electrical force that uses how much energy to move a per charge.
Voltage Drop : Change from one potential to a lower potential


"The Basics of Electricity." The Basics of Electricity, Electricity Basics, Understanding Electricity.
InSite 4.12, 2008. Web. 19 Aug. 2014. <http://www.differentsourcesofelectricity.com/electricity-

Edison Electric Institute. "Electricity 101." 2 June 2007. Minnesota Power| An Allete Company.
Web. 14 Aug. 2014.

"Electricity." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

"Electricity;Electronics." Dictionary of American History. 2003. "Electricity and
Electronics." Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2003. Web. 19 Aug. 2014.

"How Electricity Is Generated through Wind." Electricity and Gas for Your Home and Business,
Supplied by EDF Energy. EDF Energy, 2014. Web. 19 Aug. 2014.

"Hydroelectric Power: How It Works." Hydroelectric Power: How It Works, USGS Water-Science
School. U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey, 2 May 2014. Web. 16 Aug. 2014.

Layton, David. "Electricity." (n.d.): n. pag. Powerkuff LLC. Powerkuff LLC, 16 Feb. 2009. Web. 14
Aug. 2014. <http://www.powerkuff.com/Download_Electricity.pdf>.

"Meralco | Ang Liwanag Ng Bukas." Meralco | Ang Liwanag Ng Bukas. Manila Electric
Company, 2011. Web. 19 Aug. 2014. <http://www.meralco.com.ph/customer/page-cusCare-

Whitlock, Laura. Electricity - You Light Up My Life! N.p.: SSU, 30 June 2009. PPT.

Wilson, Jon. Introductory Unit on Electricity. N.p.: University of Mississippi, 18 Jan. 2001. PPT.

Yumak, Kahraman, RA/TA. "Brief Notes: Introduction to Electricity." Rev. ofIntroduction to
Electricity, Prentice Hall, 2011. (n.d.): n. pag.Web.itu.edu.tr/yumakk. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.