Alberta’s electrical grid is an interconnected network system designed to deliver electricity from producers to consumers (in our case, members). The grid consists of three main sections: electricity generation, transmission, and distribution. Explore the journey from electric power generation to consumer use below.
Electricity in Alberta is produced from fossil fuels and renewable energy. Fossil fuels include coal and natural gas, while renewable energy includes wind, hydro, solar, and biomass (energy produced from organic waste).
Generators or power plants convert energy obtained from diverse energy sources into electric energy. This electric energy is then boosted by transformers, from about 20,000 volts to up to 245,000 volts, enabling it to travel long distances.
Transmission lines carry electric energy from power plants to local substations. This network of transmission lines and substations is known as Alberta’s transmission system. It transports electricity across the province in the blink of an eye.
Local substations help connect homes, farms, businesses, and industries to the diverse electricity generated across Alberta. Substations use transformers to reduce the high transmission voltage to a lower level suitable for local distribution lines.
Electricity leaves the substation on primary distribution lines, distributing electricity at 750 to 69,000 volts. In Alberta, primary distribution lines are owned and operated by a mixture of investor-owned utilities, municipalities, and rural electrification associations (REAs). Blue Mountain Power Co-op owns and operates the distribution lines within our service area.
Primary distribution lines carry the electricity to a small transformer mounted on or near the power pole on your property. Here, the electricity's voltage is further reduced to match the need of your home, farm, or business.
The electric meter installed on your premises is typically either on the transformer pole or on the side of your house. This device is used to measure the amount of electricity consumed by your home, farm, or business. Blue Mountain Power Co-op uses the electric meter readings to bill you based on your electricity usage.
Secondary power lines, or low voltage lines, carry electricity from the transformer to your home through a series of overhead or underground lines. Secondary distribution lines are under 750 volts.
Electricity plays an essential role in how your home or business operates. The electrical service panel is the central distribution point for delivering electricity to the switches, outlets, appliances, and throughout your premises. The electric service panel is equipped with breakers or fuses that shut off power to the circuits if an electrical system failure occurs.