Delivering electricity safely and reliably to your home from its source is much more than wires and switches. Before the first electrons flow to become the light at your front door or in your electrical outlet, there are many other steps that take place.

Electricity Generation

Generation is the process of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, or electricity. Generation facilities are the first link in the chain in providing electricity to customers. OPALCO energy comes from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) primarily through hydro-electric generators. See our fuel mix report for more detail. Once generated, electricity is transported across high-voltage transmission lines overland and then underwater to the islands.

Electricity Transmission

Transmission is the process of carrying high voltage electricity from generation facilities over long distances. An extensive system of high-voltage transmission lines is operated by the nation’s larger utilities to move electricity among utilities. This transmission network permits electricity trading between utilities. Without transmission facilities, electricity could not be moved from power plants to the thousands of distribution systems serving millions of consumers of electric power.

Electricity Distribution

Distribution is the process of carrying electricity from transmission substations to homes and businesses. Our OPALCO energy distribution system is automated by means of our extensive grid control backbone that consists of power, fiber-optics and sophisticated electrical devices throughout the system. This grid allows us to control and monitor power remotely, resolve outages quickly and increase the safety of our crews in the field.