There are three basic steps involved in providing electricity to your home or business. The steps are generation, transmission, and distribution.
Generation is the process where a natural resource, in this case coal, is converted to electric power. Coal is pulverized into a very fine powder and burned to heat water into steam. The steam turns a turbine, which turns a generator to produce electric power. It takes about one pound of coal to produce one-kilowatt hour of electricty; about the amount it takes to power your stove burner for one hour.
Transmission is the step where the electricity is transported from the power plant to the various substations located in your communities. The voltage is raised to 69,000 – 765,000 volts. As the voltage is increased the current is lowered, this permits smaller wires to be used and to lower power losses.
Distribution is where your local cooperative takes over. At the substation the voltage is lowered again to a more useable level between 7,200 – 14,400 volts. Distribution lines carry the power to a transformer outside your home or business, where the voltage is lowered once again to between 120 – 480 volts for use by the customer.