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Electricity 101

Girl plugging into an outlet to use electricity

Did you know these electricity facts?

  • There are 200,000 electricity related accidents in the United States every year.

  • Around 700 people die from these accidents each year.

  • Some accidents result in injuries that cause people to lose the ability to work or have a meaningful life.


Don’t become another statistic. Learn how to be safe!


What is electricity?

Electricity is energy and energy is the ability to do work.


Where does electricity start?

At the power plant! Electricity is created by wire coils spinning inside big magnets causing electrons to get excited and make electricity. Electricity travels down thick wire to a power transformer that makes the power stronger for its long trip over the transmission lines.


What does it do next?

It travels down transmission lines. The strength of electricity is measured in volts. When it leaves the power plant, electricity is at 700,000 volts. This electricity is transported through transmission lines to substations. At the substation, electricity can be made stronger if it got weaker during its long trip. But more often than not it’s reduced.

Lower voltages is needed to safely send electricity down smaller wires, known as distribution lines, which San Patricio Electric Cooperative uses to deliver power to your home. Once the voltages has been decreased to 7 to 12,000 volts, it can safely be sent to your home, school or business.


Power lines by a house

What happens when the distribution line gets to a home, school or business?

A transformer at the building reduces the electricity to 120 or 240 volts. Three lines (two active and one neutral or ground) go into a cable, connected to your meter box, and into the building. The meter measures how much electricity is used at the building and it’s how San Patricio Electric Cooperative knows how much to bill each member.


How does electricity get into the building?

Electricity travels through wires, located behind the wall, to electrical outlets. The electricity waits there to go to work, As soon as a plug from an appliance is put into the outlet, the electricity can travel down the cord and into the appliance to make it work.



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