How electricity gets
to your home

Ever wonder when you flip the switch and the light comes on, where the electricity comes from? Read below about how electricity gets to your home.

  1. Coal conveyance Fossil fuels

    The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil or natural gas – is used to produce heat in a boiler. Fossil fuels are considered nonrenewable sources of energy.

  2. Pulverizer

    In the case of coal-fired generation, coal is mined and delivered to power plants. From the coal yard, the coal is trans-ported by conveyance into pulverizers, which grind the coal lumps into a fine powder. The resulting fine powder is blown into the boiler where it burns quickly and produces heat.

  3. 3.
    Inside a boiler Boiler

    Water circulating through pipes in the walls of the boiler absorbs the heat and is converted to steam. The steam, at a pressure of more than 2,500 pounds per square inch and at a temperature of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, spins the blades of a turbine.

  4. Turbine

    The spinning blades of the turbine rotate a shaft that drives a generator. The size of the turbine blades corresponds to the amount of steam or force needed to turn the blades. Smaller blades require more steam or force.

  5. 5.

    Most AC generators have coils of wire that create an electromagnet. Another set of wire coils is rotated within this magnetic field, and when a wire of any electrically conductive material moves across a magnetic field, an electric current is produced in that wire.

  6. 6.
    Transmission step-up station and transmission lines Transmission

    Transmission substations use transformers to step-up the voltage from the generator to the transmission lines. The voltage is increased to 69,000 to 345,000 volts in Vectren's case or even up to 765,000 volts across the United States. The voltage depends on the distance the power will travel and electric demand.

  7. Poles and lines running to houses and businesses Distribution

    Step-down transformers, located at substations near the final destination, reduce the voltage, so electricity can be carried on smaller distribution lines to the customer. Small transformers on poles or on the ground reduce voltage to 120-240 volts for residential customers.

    Main distribution lines, also known as primary lines, deliver electricity to large subdivisions and commercial areas. Local distribution lines, installed either overhead or underground, deliver electricity to smaller neighborhoods and businesses.

  8. 8.
    Electric meter Electric meter

    The distribution line runs to a service drop to your electric meter on your house or business, and the electric meter measures the amount of energy used by the service.

Fact finder

Is wind power a nonrenewable or renewable source?

Wind is a renewable energy source as well as solar (sun), hydro (water) and biomass (landfills, animal waste).

Vectren fact

Vectren purchases 30 MW of wind power from a wind farm in Benton County, Indiana.

Fact finder

How much does coal account for in U.S. electric generation fuel mix?


Fun to-do

Fossil Fuel Energy – Solve the math problems to discover information about fossil fuels.

Vectren fact

Vectren has six natural gas-fired turbines, which allow Vectren to generate even more energy on days when customer electric usage is higher than normal.

Fun to-do

Electric Match Up – Match the picture with its corresponding word and definition.

Vectren fact

Vectren has two coal-fired power plants with a total of five coal-fired generating units: two at A.B. Brown in Posey County, two at F.B. Culley in Warrick County as well as part ownership of one coal-fired generation unit with Alcoa Warrick Power Plant in Warrick County.

Vectren fact

Vectren's electric generation fleet is controlled for SO2 with its scrubbers, NOx with its Selective Catalytic Reduction units, particulate matter and mercury with its state-of-the-art fabric filters. Vectren’s scrubbers remove SO2 from the flue gas stream, in which gypsum, or calcium sulfate, is produced as a by-product that is used in the manufacturing of drywall. The fly ash captured from the fabric filters is used to manufacture cement.

Vectren fact

Vectren has two types of transmission systems: overhead and underground, totaling almost 900 miles of transmission line at two different transmission voltages of 69,000 and 138,000 (69kV and 138kV)

Vectren fact

Vectren has three types of distribution systems: an overhead, underground residential distribution and a network system that typically runs between 4,200 volts and 12,470 volts.

Vectren fact

In Vectren’s electric service area, there are approximately 3,100 miles of overhead distribution line and about 1,200 miles of underground distribution line for a total of 4,300 miles of distribution line.

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