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How Electricity Comes to You

Electric power plant

1. Electric power plants make electrons flow by spinning copper wire near a magnet in a machine called a generator. The magnet makes the electrons in the wire move from atom to atom, creating electricity.

2. Electricity has to travel a long way from the power plant to where it is used, and it can get weaker as it travels. So big transformers at power plants are used to increase electricity's strength for its long journey.

3. Electricity travels long distances over transmission lines on tall towers.

4. When electricity gets closer to where it will be used, its strength must be decreased. Transformers at utility substations do this job, "stepping down" electricity's power.

5. Electricity then travels to neighborhood streets and rural areas on overhead or underground power lines called distribution lines.

6. When the distribution wires reach a home or business, another transformer reduces the electricity down to just the right voltage to be used in homes, schools, or businesses.

7. Service drop wires carries the electricity from the transformer to buildings through a meter box. The meter measures how much electricity is used in the building.

8. From the meter box, wires run inside the walls of buildings to lights and outlets, where electricity waits for you to use it.

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