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The Electric Utility Network

October 01, 2020

Have you ever thought much about what goes on behind the scenes when you flip on a light switch, send a text message, grab a cold drink from the fridge, or read an article like this one online? These are just a few out of the hundreds of everyday activities humans take part in that all rely on electricity.

While it feels instantaneous, electricity oftentimes has to travel a long way to get from the source to your home.

Just like vegetables are grown on a farm before they are picked, prepared and distributed to a market or store, electricity is generated and then transmitted through a complex system that distributes it to your home. This system – also known as the power grid – is made up of electricity substations, transformers and power lines, plus the meters, wiring, outlets and switches all throughout our homes and businesses.

Most power grids are strategically interconnected, forming larger, more dependable networks that enhance the coordination and planning it takes to deliver electricity to customers. For instance, if a power plant is seeing very high energy demand – such as on a particularly hot summer day – another plant on the same system can assist with producing and delivering energy to help keep the power on.

As the third largest municipally owned electric utility in Texas, LP&L’s system is made up of three power plants, 38 substations, nearly 5,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines and more than 107,000 meters. The majority of its electricity is currently purchased through purchase power agreements. In 2018, the Public Utility Commission of Texas approved LP&L’s application to join the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT manages the electricity flow to more than 26 million Texans, accounting for almost 90% of the state’s electric load.

LP&L is in the process of building the infrastructure to connect to ERCOT next year. Joining ERCOT provides LP&L’s customers with a diversified portfolio of reliable and affordable Texas power, saving ratepayers money and opening the door to retail electric competition in Lubbock. Find out more about LP&L joining ERCOT here.

With this behind-the-scenes look into how electricity travels to your home, there’s no denying how modern technology and electricity simultaneously work together to make life easier by bringing instant conveniences right to your doorstep.