Electricity 101

Your Power and How it Works

Have you ever wondered where your power comes from or even how it gets from the pole on the street, to your home? Power is everywhere and with an understanding of how it works you can understand what happens in an outage or even what happens when you flip on a light.

Where it Comes From

At any given time, the electricity you’re using is coming from a variety of sources. These include traditional sources of power (e.g., from plants that use coal, oil or natural gas to generate power). But we also purchase power that comes from other sources like nuclear plants and hydroelectric facilities. A growing percentage of your power comes from renewable resources like wind and solar. By 2025, it’s our goal to have at least 25 percent of our power supply come from renewable sources.

How it is Stored

There’s no way to store large quantities of electricity, so it’s important to match the current supply of power with the current demand for it. That’s the job of ISO-New England, a private, nonprofit corporation that oversees the operation of New England’s power grid.

How We Buy It

Nearly all of the power used by Co-op members is generated right here in New England. NHEC purchases power on the wholesale market and resells it to you at the same cost.

How it Gets to You

  1. After being generated, electricity leaves its source on high-voltage wires called transmission lines. These power lines carry large quantities of electricity long distances to locations throughout New England.
  2. Substations are where NHEC takes ownership of the power that makes its way to your home or business on our 5,500 miles of distribution lines. At each step of its journey to your meter, electricity is reduced in voltage by transformers located in the substations and on poles outside your property.
  3. Once your power leaves our substations, it branches out on lower-voltage wires to reach all the homes and businesses served by NHEC. Our electric distribution system consists of main lines, tap lines and service lines.
  4. Now that electricity has reached your service line and entered your home, let’s see where it goes and how it’s used.