Most of us take reliable electric power for granted. Do you know what it takes to get power to you?

  1. Power Plant/Hydroelectric Dam

    At a generating plant, electric energy is produced using gas, coal, oil, nuclear or, especially in the Pacific Northwest, water.

  2. Step-Up Substation

    Transformers at generating plants increase the voltage up to 345,000 volts so it can travel long distances over high-voltage transmission lines.

  3. High-Voltage Transmission Lines

    These lines carry electricity across long distances.

  4. Transmission Substation

    These transformers reduce electricity to 69,000 volts, making it suitable for short-distance delivery.

  5. Local Distribution Substation

    Local electric utilities operate these smaller substations to reduce electricity to 7,200 to 14,000 volts for distribution to users.

  6. Distribution Lines

    Utility-owned lines carry power to transformers that reduce power to 120/240 or 120/208 volts for consumers. They also may transmit any consumer-owned generation—such as from solar panels—onto the grid.

  7. Consumer-Owned Renewable Generation

    Solar panels, geothermal collection, a methane digestor or a wind turbine is interconnected to the utility’s lines. A cut-off switch is installed that disconnects the device from the line to protect personnel working during an outage or maintenance.