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How it Flows from Power Stations to Us

Straight Down the Line

Transporting Electricity Diagram The path that electricity takes from the power planet to your home.

In a Flash

How electricity flows

The spinning turbines make the electricity, which flows into power lines and to our houses. Electricity moves through the wires very fast. In just one second, electricity can travel around the world seven times. From the power station where the electricity is made the electricity flows to large transmission lines held up by huge towers. The transmission lines carry large amounts of electricity to substations in cities and towns. Distribution lines carry small amounts of electricity from the substations to houses, businesses and schools.

Electricity travels in closed circuits (from the word "circle"). It must have a complete path from the power station through the wires and back. If the circuit is open, the electricity can't flow but when it is closed it can. If we turn on a light switch we close the circuit and the electricity flows through the light and back into the wire. When we turn the switch off, we open the circuit. No electricity flows to the light.

Lightbulb Energy heats a lightbulb's wires, making the gas inside the bulb glow.

When we turn a light switch on, electricity flows through a tiny wire in the bulb. The wire gets very hot. It makes the gas in the bulb glow. When the bulb burns out, the tiny wire has broken. The path through the bulb is gone. When we turn on the TV, electricity flows through wires inside the set, making pictures and sound.

We use electricity every day in many, many ways. Probably more often than most people realise. Every year we are using more and more electricity because we have more digital technology devices and appliances that require it and more and more people to use it.