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How We Get To Next | 02.25.16

I Tried, and Failed, to Find Out Where My Electricity Comes From

Mimi Onuoha

D&S Fellow Mimi Onuoha tries to figure out where her electrity comes from…and runs into a few roadblocks.

To know where your electricity comes from is to know all the points it travels through: the generators that produce it, substations that route and distribute it, transmission lines that transport it, transformers that raise and lower its voltage, and the service that directs it into your home. But lest you think the process is as straightforward as I have described, I should mention that for each step there are further caveats and complications. Feeders are divided into primary and secondary; there are upwards of eight transformers in each substation; service boxes are also connected to manhole vaults that serve as access points to equipment; and power plants go by a plethora of other names (generators, power stations, powerhouses). Each step of the process could prompt its own exploration.

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