Utility Distribution 101
Electricity is initially generated at various types of power plants, and then moves through a system of substations, transformers, and power lines flowing to endpoints (generally consumers and businesses). Distribution is the final stage in the delivery for utilities, carrying electricity from the transmission system to individual customers. The system works similarly for water and gas utilities.
Specifically for electricity, distribution substations connect to the transmission system and lower the transmission Specifically for electricity, distribution substations are the first element of the distribution process and connect to the transmission system. They lower the transmission voltage to medium voltage with the use of transformers. Primary distribution lines carry this lower voltage power to distribution transformers located near customer’s homes and businesses. Distribution transformers again lower the voltage to the utilization voltage used by lighting, industrial equipment and household appliances. Often several customers are supplied from one transformer through secondary distribution lines.
Commercial and residential customers are connected to the secondary distribution lines through service drops. Customers requiring larger amounts of power may be connected directly to the primary distribution level.
The Distribution Process Starts at the Substation
- Circuit breakers and switches enable the substation to be disconnected from the transmission grid or for distribution lines to be disconnected.
- Transformers step down transmission voltages, 35 kV or more, down to primary distribution voltages. These are medium voltage circuits, usually 600–35000 V.
- From the transformer, power goes to the busbar that can split the distribution power off in multiple directions. The bus distributes power to distribution lines, which fan out to customers.
Distributed utilities come to customers via service drops and meters.
Anterix is working to assist utilities to better manage issues with their distribution operations. With a 900 MHz Private LTE network, utilities are in full control of their wireless broadband communications and are better able to address potential issues such as customer outages and cyber-attack risks. Utilities are also able to increase visibility into their own distribution systems, sensors and devices.
Anterix is architecting a new foundation that enables the modernization of critical infrastructure for energy, transportation, logistics and others. Help us spread the word.