Electricity 101

If you’re like most people, how the power grid works isn’t something you think about every day—you flip the switch and the lights come on. However, the reality is it that takes a complex network to deliver this vital service.

Below is a simple depiction that walks through the basic steps in the electrical grid.


All the electrical power that we use starts at a power plant where a generator produces electricity. Generators can be fueled by coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, or renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, solar, and wind power.


From the generator, power leaves and enters a transmission substation, which converts the generator’s voltage to extremely high voltages for long-distance travel on the transmission grid. Transmission lines (like the ones proposed for the Greater Boston and New Hampshire Solution) effectively and efficiently carry that high-voltage power over the long distances.


From the transmission lines, the power is converted to a lower voltage at a substation that sends power to the distribution lines—the lines you see along your town or city streets—and, ultimately, that powers your home or business.