21 ABRIL 2020
How to Read Your Power Bill: Supply Voltage
Electricity is one of the primary needs for our homes and businesses, which makes it one of the first services we buy in Spain when we move or when we open a business. But do we really know what we’re buying?
Here at Univergy Solar we’ve decided to write a series of articles where we delve into all of the information you’ll need to make informed decisions when buying an electric service plan and when reading your power bills.
We’ll begin with the first thing you should know about when buying an electric service plan: supply voltage.
What is supply voltage?
Voltage is the “pressure” that pushes electricity from one end of a wire to another. Its unit of measurement is the volt. If we join a power source at point A to another point B with a conductor (such as a wire), energy from the point with the greater charge (point A) will flow to the end with less charge (point B) in order to equalize the electric potential between the two points. This is known as electric current.
Here are the three most common terms you will encounter for electric current when buying an electric service plan:
- Low voltage < 1kV: Electrical systems are considered low-voltage when the supply voltage is less than or equal to 1kV. This category is what is used most in homes and street lights.
- Medium voltage > 1kV and < 36kV: Medium-voltage power lines have voltages that are above 1kV but do not exceed 36kV. This category is used by large energy consumers such as hospitals, airports, and larger industries. Currently, medium voltage is not being used very much, and many professionals are starting to only differentiate between low and high voltage.
- High voltage > 36kV: High-voltage electric grids are those that exceed voltages of 36kV. Generally speaking, high voltages are used to transport electricity over long distances from power plants to electrical substations
Each one of these supply-voltage categories correspond to different rate categories we can choose from when we buy an electric service plan, which is why it is very important to know which voltage we need.
We will talk about all of the different rate categories in next week’s article.
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