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How does power get to your home?

Ever wondered how electricity travels from one of those big generating facilities to your home?

​EPCOR experts like Jason are there to ensure safe, reliable electricity gets to your home for cooking those morning eggs, so you can focus on filling your mind — not your stomach

Ever wondered how electricity travels from one of those big generating facilities to your home?

Two words are often used to describe power's voyage from pole to pole and wire to wire: distribution and transmission.


Transmission: From generation to city substations

Transmission refers to the electrical path running through underground or aerial wires between a generating station, where power is made, to a substation, where the power is made safe for travel to your neighbourhood. You'll see substations around the city; they're those buildings and attached yards you see filled with intricate grey machinery and giant spiral poles.

Transmission voltages are high, coming in at 72,000 volts (V) or 240,000 V (and up to 500,000 V). A 4,000 V line alone can cook a hot dog within seconds, so these transmission lines deal in serious voltages!

Distribution: From city substations to your home

Once voltages are stepped down (e.g. reduced) at a substation, the electricity cruises along distribution wires. These lines are the ones that leave a substation and make their way to a home or business. Distribution voltages are much lower, ranging from 120 V to 25,000 V.

Let's recap…

Transmission involves large-scale infrastructure that carries high voltages across long distances to a distribution point. Think about those larger transmission towers that run along the Anthony Henday.

Distribution involves the system that actually connects customers, like you, to usable power through household electrical outlets.

If you were to follow the path of an electrical current in Edmonton, here's what it would look like:


Safety first

Remember, the electrical equipment in a substation can be extremely dangerous (and even deadly) to anyone not authorized or properly trained to work with it.

Stay back — and stay safe. There's no reason to enter a substation yard or building.

Visit our Power Equipment Safety page for a "jolting" safety reminder, and check out the rest of our Safety section for more tips.