Opened on February 22, 2021. Last updated by The POOG on February 22, 2021.

The electricity system consists of generation sources, a system of transmission line known as the grid, a set of transformer and substations and a collection of local distribution systems. The consumer is a customer of a distribution system, your local electric utility. This article explains the various components of the electricity system.

An American Organization, Resources for the Future, has a couple of useful pages of definition of terms, Electricity 101: Terms and Definitions and a high-level view of the electricity system in the US, US Electricity Markets 101. They have a clear bias towards renewable sources and that should be kept in mind.

The Storage Issue

When one considers the current global electricity demand, storage comprises a very small aspect of the system. Some large-scale battery storage has been installed and pumped hydro facilities have been in place for decades, but these have problems with cost and efficiency.

What is not generally understood by the general public is that without effective storage, electricity must be generated to match the demand or load as it is otherwise called. The electricity system must then be managed in real time 24/7 so that demand and generation don’t become unbalanced outside of a narrow operating range.