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The electric power industry covers the
generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not ex ...
,
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...

transmission
,
distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distr ...
and sale of
electric power Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been conve ...
to the general public and industry. The commercial distribution of electric power started in 1882 when electricity was produced for
electric lighting An electric light is a device that produces visible light from electric power. It is the most common form of artificial lighting and is essential to modern society, providing interior lighting for buildings and exterior light for evening and n ...
. In the 1880s and 1890s, growing economic and safety concerns lead to the regulation of the industry. What was once an expensive novelty limited to the most densely populated areas, reliable and economical electric power has become an essential aspect for normal operation of all elements of developed economies. By the middle of the 20th century, electricity was seen as a "
natural monopoly A natural monopoly is a monopoly A monopoly (from Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none) is as described by Irving Fisher, a market with the "absence of competition", cre ...

natural monopoly
", only efficient if a restricted number of organizations participated in the market; in some areas, vertically-integrated companies provide all stages from generation to retail, and only governmental supervision regulated the rate of return and cost structure. Since the 1990s, many regions have broken up the generation and distribution of electric power. While such markets can be abusively manipulated with consequent adverse price and reliability impact to consumers, generally competitive production of electrical energy leads to worthwhile improvements in efficiency. However, transmission and distribution are harder problems since returns on investment are not as easy to find.


History

Although electricity had been known to be produced as a result of the chemical reactions that take place in an
electrolytic cell 190px, Nineteenth-century electrolytic cell for producing oxyhydrogen An electrolytic cell is an electrochemical cell An electrochemical cell is a device capable of either generating electrical energy from chemical reaction A chemical ...
since
Alessandro Volta Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (, ; 18 February 1745 – 5 March 1827) was an Italian physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in ...

Alessandro Volta
developed the
voltaic pile –zinc Zinc is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the sa ...

voltaic pile
in 1800, its production by this means was, and still is, expensive. In 1831,
Michael Faraday Michael Faraday (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge ...

Michael Faraday
devised a machine that generated electricity from rotary motion, but it took almost 50 years for the technology to reach a commercially viable stage. In 1878, in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
,
Thomas Edison Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices in fields such as electric power generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from s ...

Thomas Edison
developed and sold a commercially viable replacement for gas lighting and heating using locally generated and distributed
direct current Direct current (DC) is one-directional flow Flow may refer to: Science and technology * Flow (fluid) or fluid dynamics, the motion of a gas or liquid * Flow (geomorphology), a type of mass wasting or slope movement in geomorphology * Flow (math ...
electricity. Robert Hammond, in December 1881, demonstrated the new electric light in the
Sussex Sussex (), from the Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, e ...

Sussex
town of
Brighton Brighton () is a constituent part of the List of cities in the United Kingdom, city of Brighton and Hove, a former town situated on the southern coast of England, in the county of East Sussex. It is best known as a seaside resort and is positi ...

Brighton
in the UK for a trial period. The ensuing success of this installation enabled Hammond to put this venture on both a commercial and legal footing, as a number of shop owners wanted to use the new electric light. Thus the Hammond Electricity Supply Co. was launched. In early 1882, Edison opened the world's first steam-powered electricity generating station at
Holborn Viaduct Holborn Viaduct is a road bridge in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of Engl ...
in
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
, where he had entered into an agreement with the City Corporation for a period of three months to provide street lighting. In time he had supplied a number of local consumers with electric light. The method of supply was direct current (DC). Whilst the Godalming and the 1882 Holborn Viaduct Scheme closed after a few years the Brighton Scheme continued on, and supply was in 1887 made available for 24 hours per day. It was later on in the year in September 1882 that Edison opened the Pearl Street Power Station in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
and again it was a DC supply. It was for this reason that the generation was close to or on the consumer's premises as Edison had no means of voltage conversion. The voltage chosen for any electrical system is a compromise. For a given amount of power transmitted, increasing the
voltage Voltage, electric potential difference, electric pressure or electric tension is the difference in electric potential The electric potential (also called the ''electric field potential'', potential drop, the electrostatic potential) is the ...

voltage
reduces the
current Currents or The Current may refer to: Science and technology * Current (fluid) A current in a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. ...
and therefore reduces the required wire thickness. Unfortunately it also increases the danger from direct contact and increases the required insulation thickness. Furthermore, some load types were difficult or impossible to make work with higher voltages. The overall effect was that Edison's system required power stations to be within a mile of the consumers. While this could work in city centres, it would be unable to economically supply suburbs with power. Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity – 2. The Age of Invention The mid to late 1880s saw the introduction of
alternating current Alternating current (AC) is an electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'natu ...
(AC) systems in Europe and the U.S. AC power had an advantage in that
transformer A transformer is a passive electrical device that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another, or multiple Electrical network, circuits. A varying current in any one coil of the transformer produces a varying magnetic flux ...

transformer
s, installed at
power station A power station, also referred to as a power plant and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: ...

power station
s, could be used to raise the voltage from the generators, and transformers at local
substations
substations
could reduce voltage to supply loads. Increasing the voltage reduced the current in the transmission and distribution lines and hence the size of conductors and distribution losses. This made it more economical to distribute power over long distances. Generators (such as
hydroelectric Hydroelectricity, or hydroelectric power, is electricity produced from hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water Water (chemical formula H2O) is a ...
sites) could be located far from the loads. AC and DC competed for a while, during a period called the
war of the currents The war of the currents was a series of events surrounding the introduction of competing electric power transmission systems in the late 1880s and early 1890s. It grew out of two lighting systems developed in the late 1870s and early 1880s; arc l ...
. The DC system was able to claim slightly greater safety, but this difference was not great enough to overwhelm the enormous technical and economic advantages of alternating current which eventually won out. The AC power system used today developed rapidly, backed by industrialists such as
George Westinghouse George Westinghouse Jr. (October 6, 1846 – March 12, 1914) was an American entrepreneur Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what ...

George Westinghouse
with
Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky Mikhail Osipovich Dolivo-Dobrovolsky (russian: Михаи́л О́сипович Доли́во-Доброво́льский; german: Michail von Dolivo-Dobrowolsky or ''Michail Ossipowitsch Doliwo-Dobrowolski''; pl, Michał Doliwo-Dobrowolski; & ...
,
Galileo Ferraris Galileo Ferraris (31 October 1847 – 7 February 1897) was an Italian university professor, physicist and electrical engineer, one of the pioneers of AC power system and an inventor of the three-phase induction motor upright=1.15, Cutaway vie ...

Galileo Ferraris
,
Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti Sebastian Pietro Innocenzo Adhemar Ziani de Ferranti (9 April 1864 – 13 January 1930) was a British electrical engineer and inventor. Personal life Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti was born in Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the U ...

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
,
Lucien Gaulard Lucien Gaulard (16 July 1850 – 26 November 1888) invented devices for the transmission of alternating current Alternating current (AC) is an electric current which periodically reverses direction and changes its magnitude continuously with t ...
, John Dixon Gibbs,
Carl Wilhelm Siemens Sir Carl Wilhelm Siemens (4 April 1823 – 19 November 1883), anglicised to Charles William Siemens, was a German-British electrical engineer and businessman. Biography Siemens was born in the village of Lenthe, today part of Gehrden Gehrden ...
, William Stanley Jr.,
Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla ( ; sr-cyr, Никола Тесла, ; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the moder ...

Nikola Tesla
, and others contributed to this field.
Power electronics Power electronics is the application of to the control and conversion of electric power. The first high power electronic devices were made using s. In modern systems, the conversion is performed with switching devices such as s, s, and s s ...
is the application of
solid-state electronics Solid-state electronics means semiconductor A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity Electrical resistivity (also called specific electrical resistance or volume resistivity) is a fundamental property of a material that qua ...
to the control and conversion of electric power. Power electronics started with the development of the
mercury arc rectifier A mercury-arc valve or mercury-vapor rectifier or (UK) mercury-arc rectifier is a type of electrical rectifier A rectifier is an electrical device that converts Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one ...

mercury arc rectifier
in 1902, used to convert AC into DC. From the 1920s on, research continued on applying
thyratron hydrogen thyratron, used in pulsed radar Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by ...
s and grid-controlled mercury arc valves to power transmission. Grading electrodes made them suitable for
high voltage direct current A high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) electric power transmission Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy from a power generation, generating site, such as a power plant, to an electrical substation. The interconne ...
(HVDC) power transmission. In 1933, selenium rectifiers were invented.
Transistor upright=1.4, gate Candi bentar, a typical Indonesian gate that is often found on the islands of Java">Indonesia.html" ;"title="Candi bentar, a typical Indonesia">Candi bentar, a typical Indonesian gate that is often found on the islands o ...

Transistor
technology dates back to 1947, with the invention of the
point-contact transistor The point-contact transistor was the first type of transistor file:MOSFET Structure.png, upright=1.4, Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), showing Metal gate, gate (G), body (B), source (S) and drain (D) terminals. The g ...

point-contact transistor
, which was followed by the
bipolar junction transistor A bipolar junction transistor (BJT) is a type of transistor upright=1.4, gate Candi bentar, a typical Indonesian gate that is often found on the islands of Java">Indonesia.html" ;"title="Candi bentar, a typical Indonesia">Candi benta ...
(BJT) in 1948. By the 1950s, higher power semiconductor
diode A diode is a two- that conducts primarily in one direction (asymmetric ); it has low (ideally zero) in one direction, and high (ideally infinite) in the other. A diode or thermionic diode is a vacuum tube with two s, a heated and a , in ...

diode
s became available and started replacing
vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric voltage, potential difference has been applied. The type kn ...
s. In 1956, the
silicon controlled rectifier A silicon controlled rectifier or semiconductor controlled rectifier is a four-layer solid-state electronics, solid-state Electric current, current-controlling device. The principle of four-layer p–n–p–n switching was developed by Moll, Tan ...
(SCR) was introduced, increasing the range of power electronic applications. A breakthrough in power electronics came with the invention of the
MOSFET The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor that is fabricated by th ...

MOSFET
(metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) in 1959. Generations of MOSFETs enabled power designers to achieve performance and density levels not possible with bipolar transistors. In 1969,
Hitachi () is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign ...

Hitachi
introduced the first vertical
power MOSFET A power MOSFET is a specific type of metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS tr ...
, which would later be known as the
VMOS A VMOS () transistor is a type of MOSFET The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate fi ...
(V-groove MOSFET). The power MOSFET has since become the most common
power device A power semiconductor device is a semiconductor device used as a switch or rectifier in power electronics (for example in a switch-mode power supply). Such a device is also called a power device or, when used in an integrated circuit, a power IC. A ...
in the world, due to its low gate drive power, fast switching speed, easy advanced paralleling capability, wide
bandwidth Bandwidth commonly refers to: * Bandwidth (signal processing) or ''analog bandwidth'', ''frequency bandwidth'', or ''radio bandwidth'', a measure of the width of a frequency range * Bandwidth (computing), the rate of data transfer, bit rate or thr ...
, ruggedness, easy drive, simple biasing, ease of application, and ease of repair. While HVDC is increasingly being used to transmit large quantities of electricity over long distances or to connect adjacent
asynchronous Asynchrony is the state of not being in synchronization. Asynchrony or asynchronous may refer to: Electronics and computing * Asynchrony (computer programming), the occurrence of events independent of the main program flow, and ways to deal with ...
power systems, the bulk of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and retailing takes place using alternating current.


Organization

The electric power industry is commonly split up into four processes. These are
electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage prior to its Electricity delivery, delivery (Electric power transmiss ...
such as a
power station A power station, also referred to as a power plant and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: ...

power station
,
electric power transmission Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been convert ...

electric power transmission
,
electricity distribution Electric power distribution is the final stage in the delivery of electric power Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI unit of power is the watt The watt (sym ...
and
electricity retailing Electricity retailing is the final sale of electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion ...
. In many countries, electric power companies own the whole infrastructure from generating stations to transmission and distribution infrastructure. For this reason, electric power is viewed as a
natural monopoly A natural monopoly is a monopoly A monopoly (from Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none) is as described by Irving Fisher, a market with the "absence of competition", cre ...

natural monopoly
. The industry is generally heavily
regulated Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way e ...

regulated
, often with
price control Price controls are restrictions set in place and enforced by governments, on the prices that can be charged for goods and services in a market. The intent behind implementing such controls can stem from the desire to maintain affordability of goods ...
s and is frequently government-owned and operated. However, the modern trend has been growing deregulation in at least the latter two processes. The nature and state of market reform of the
electricity market In economic terms, electricity is a commodity capable of being bought, sold, and traded. An electricity market, also power exchange or PX, is a system enabling purchases, through bids to buy; sales, through offers to sell. Bids and offers use sup ...
often determines whether electric companies are able to be involved in just some of these processes without having to own the entire infrastructure, or citizens choose which components of infrastructure to patronise. In countries where electricity provision is deregulated, end-users of electricity may opt for more costly green electricity.


Generation

All forms of electricity generation have positive and negative aspects.
Technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

Technology
will probably eventually declare the most preferred forms, but in a
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
, the options with less overall costs generally will be chosen above other sources. It is not clear yet which form can best meet the necessary energy demands or which process can best solve the demand for electricity. There are indications that
renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion resou ...
is rapidly becoming the most viable in economic terms. A diverse mix of generation sources reduces the risks of electricity price spikes.


Electric power transmission

Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of
electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been converted ''from'' electric potential energy. This energy is supplied by the comb ...
from a generating site, such as a
power plant A power station, also referred to as a power plant and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: ...

power plant
, to an
electrical substation A substation is a part of an electrical Electricity generation, generation, electric power transmission, transmission, and electric power distribution, distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or per ...

electrical substation
. The interconnected lines which facilitate this movement are known as a transmission network. This is distinct from the local wiring between high-voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as
electric power distribution Electric power distribution is the final stage in the delivery Delivery may refer to: *Delivery (commerce), of goods, e.g.: **Pizza delivery **Milk delivery Film and television *Delivering (film), ''Delivering'' (film), a 1993 short film by Todd ...
. The combined transmission and distribution network is known as the "
power grid An electrical grid is an interconnected network for electricity delivery Electricity delivery is the process that starts after generation of electricity in the power station A power station, also referred to as a power plant and someti ...

power grid
" in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, or just "the grid". In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, the network is known as the National Grid. A
wide area synchronous grid A wide area synchronous grid (also called an "interconnection" in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any ...
, also known as an "interconnection" in North America, directly connects many generators delivering AC power with the same relative ''frequency'' numerous consumers. For example, there are four major interconnections in North America (the
Western Interconnection The Western Interconnection is a wide area synchronous grid and one of the two major alternating current (AC) power grid ''Power Grid'' is the English-language edition of the multiplayer German-style board game ''Funkenschlag'' (in its secon ...
, the
Eastern Interconnection 247px, The grid of the contiguous United States consists of of lines operated by 500 companies. The Eastern Interconnection is one of the two major alternating current, alternating-current (AC) electrical grids in the North American power tra ...
, the
Quebec Interconnection ) , image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = French , capital = Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec ...
and the
Electric Reliability Council of Texas The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) is an American organization that operates Texas's electrical grid, the Texas Interconnection, which supplies power to more than 25 million Texas customers and represents 90 percent of the sta ...
(ERCOT) grid). In Europe one large grid connects most of continental Europe. Historically, transmission and distribution lines were owned by the same company, but starting in the 1990s, many countries have liberalized the regulation of the
electricity market In economic terms, electricity is a commodity capable of being bought, sold, and traded. An electricity market, also power exchange or PX, is a system enabling purchases, through bids to buy; sales, through offers to sell. Bids and offers use sup ...
in ways that have led to the separation of the electricity transmission business from the distribution business.


Electric power distribution

Electric power distribution is the final stage in the
delivery Delivery may refer to: *Delivery (commerce), of goods, e.g.: **Pizza delivery **Milk delivery Film and television *Delivering (film), ''Delivering'' (film), a 1993 short film by Todd Field *Delivery (film), ''Delivery'' (film), a 2005 animated sho ...
of
electric power Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been conve ...
; it carries electricity from the
transmission system :''See Transmission (mechanics) for a car's transmission system'' In telecommunications, a transmission system is a system that transmits a signal from one place to another. The signal can be an electrical, optical or radio signal. Some transmi ...

transmission system
to individual consumers. Distribution substations connect to the transmission system and lower the transmission voltage to medium
voltage Voltage, electric potential difference, electric pressure or electric tension is the difference in electric potential The electric potential (also called the ''electric field potential'', potential drop, the electrostatic potential) is the ...

voltage
ranging between 2  kV and 35 kV with the use of
transformer A transformer is a passive electrical device that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another, or multiple Electrical network, circuits. A varying current in any one coil of the transformer produces a varying magnetic flux ...

transformer
s. ''Primary'' distribution lines carry this medium voltage power to
distribution transformer A distribution transformer or service transformer is a transformer A transformer is a passive electrical device that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another, or multiple Electrical network, circuits. A varying current ...
s located near the customer's premises. Distribution transformers again lower the voltage to the
utilization voltage Mains electricity (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become ...
used by lighting, industrial equipment or household appliances. Often several customers are supplied from one transformer through ''secondary'' distribution lines. Commercial and residential customers are connected to the secondary distribution lines through
service drop In electric power distribution Electric power distribution is the final stage in the delivery of electric power; it carries electricity from the transmission system to individual consumers. Distribution substations connect to the transmission ...

service drop
s. Customers demanding a much larger amount of power may be connected directly to the primary distribution level or the subtransmission level.


Electric retailing

Electricity retailing is the final sale of
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
from
generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not ex ...
to the end-use consumer.


World electricity industries

The organization of the electrical sector of a country or region varies depending on the economic system of the country. In some places, all electric power generation, transmission and distribution is provided by a government controlled organization. Other regions have private or investor-owned utility companies, city or municipally owned companies,
cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
companies owned by their own customers, or combinations. Generation, transmission and distribution may be offered by a single company, or different organizations may provide each of these portions of the system. Not everyone has access to grid electricity. About 840 million people (mostly in Africa) had no access in 2017, down from 1.2 billion in 2010.


Market reform

The behind the electric utility has changed over the years playing a vital role in shaping the electricity industry into what it is today; from generation, transmission, distribution, to the final local retailing. This has occurred prominently since the reform of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales in 1990.


United States

In 1996 - 1999 the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the United States Independent agencies of the United States government, federal agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce and r ...
(FERC) made a series of decisions which were intended to open the U.S. wholesale power market to new players, with the hope that spurring competition would save consumers $4 to $5 billion per year and encourage technical innovation in the industry. Steps were taken to give all market participants open access to existing interstate transmission lines.
Order No. 888
ordered vertically integrated electric utilities to functionally separate their transmission, power generation and marketing businesses to prevent self-dealing.
Order No. 889
set up a system to provide all participants with timely access to information about available transmission capacity and prices. * The FERC also endorsed the concept of appointing independent system operators (ISOs) to manage the electric power grid - a function that was traditionally the responsibility of vertically integrated electric utility companies. The concept of an independent system operator evolved into that of regional transmission organizations (RTOs). FERC's intention was that all U.S. companies owning interstate electric transmission lines would place those facilities under the control of an RTO. In it
Order No. 2000
''(Regional Transmission Organizations)'', issued in 1999, FERC specified the minimum capabilities that an RTO should possess. These decisions, which were intended to create a fully interconnected grid and an integrated national power market, resulted in the restructuring of the U.S. electricity industry. That process was soon dealt two setbacks: the California energy crisis, California energy crisis of 2000, and the Enron scandal, Enron scandal and collapse. Although industry restructuring proceeded, these events made clear that competitive markets could be manipulated and thus must be properly designed and monitored. Furthermore, Northeast blackout of 2003, the Northeast blackout of 2003 highlighted the need for a dual focus on competitive pricing and strong reliability standards.


Other countries

In some countries, wholesale electricity markets operate, with electricity generation, generators and electricity retailing, retailers trading electricity in a similar manner to share (finance), shares and currency. As deregulation continues further, utilities are driven to sell their assets as the energy market follows in line with the gas market in use of the futures market, futures and spot markets and other financial arrangements. Even globalization with foreign purchases are taking place. One such purchase was when the United Kingdom, UK's National Grid plc, National Grid, the largest private electric utility in the world, bought several electric utilities in New England for $3.2 billion. Between 1995 and 1997, seven of the 12 Regional Electric Companies (RECs) in England and Wales were bought by U.S. energy companies."Electricity companies in the United Kingdom – a brief chronology," Electricity Association, 30 June 2003
/ref> Domestically, local electric and gas firms have merged operations as they saw the advantages of joint affiliation, especially with the reduced cost of joint-metering. Technological advances will take place in the competitive wholesale electric markets, such examples already being utilized include fuel cells used in space flight; aeroderivative gas turbines used in jet aircraft; solar engineering and photovoltaic systems; off-shore wind farms; and the communication advances spawned by the digital world, particularly with microprocessing which aids in monitoring and dispatching.Borberly, A. and Kreider, J. F. (2001). Distributed Generation: The Power Paradigm for the New Millennium. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 400 pp.


Outlook

Electricity is expected to see growing energy demand, demand in the future. The Information Revolution is highly reliant on electric power. Other growth areas include emerging new electricity-exclusive technologies, developments in space conditioning, industrial processes, and transportation (for example hybrid vehicles, locomotives).


See also

* AC power * Distributed generation * Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database * Meter Point Administration Number, a unique UK supply number * National Grid (disambiguation) * North American Electric Reliability Corporation * Rate Case * Reddy Kilowatt, a U.S. electricity corporate logo * Samuel Insull


References


Further reading

* P. Strange, "Early Electricity Supply in Britain: Chesterfield and Godalming", ''IEEE Proceedings'' (1979). * D. G. Tucker, "Hydro-Electricity for Public Supply in Britain", ''Industrial Archaeology Review'', (1977). * B. Bowers, ''A History of Electric Light & Power'', Peregrinus (1982). * T. P. Hughes, ''Networks of Power'', Johns Hopkins Press London (1983). * IRENA,
INNOVATION LANDSCAPE FOR A RENEWABLE-POWERED FUTURE: SOLUTIONS TO INTEGRATE VARIABLE RENEWABLES
', (2019). {{Authority control Electric power Energy industry Industries (economics)