The story of electricity supply in the Wolverhampton area

In our technological society, mains electricity is something that we take for granted. Everyone uses it every day and we all rely on it. Life would be very different without it and many older people can still remember a time when they didn't have it at home.

A hundred years ago it was still a novelty. The first improvements that most people saw in their lives because of it, were good street lighting and better public transport. Initially power was supplied by small companies using different voltages and different forms of transmission. Most of the pioneers used direct current, which is inefficient when compared with the modern alternating current supply from the high voltage grid. A.C. is generated by alternators and its distribution only became a realistic proposition when remote alternators could be run synchronously. This technique together high voltage distribution greatly reduced the losses that would otherwise occur in the long lengths of cable that are necessary. The national grid provides us with a reliable supply in most areas. Even if one of the generating stations fails, the system copes and is virtually unaffected. This is a tribute to the clever design which has provided us with one of the best electricity supply networks in the world.

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