The reasons for the loss of electricity over long distances

Losses of electricity in electric networks are considered the difference between the amount of electricity transferred from the manufacturer and the amount of electricity taken into account by the consumer. Losses occur on power lines, in power transformers, due to eddy currents in devices with reactive load, as well as due to poor insulation of conductors and theft of unaccounted electricity. In this article we will try to talk in detail about what are the losses of electricity in electric networks, as well as consider measures to reduce them.

Distance from power plant to supplying organizations

When transferring electric energy from a producer to a consumer, the amount of electricity loss depends on the design and technological aspects. So, the amount of energy loss has an inverse relationship with the diameter of the conductor. The larger the diameter of the conductor of the power supply line, the smaller the loss of electricity transmitted through it. The magnitude of the loss depends on the magnitude of the current in the same line. The greater the current, the greater the loss. This is because the current passing through the line heats its resistance.

Learn more about how electricity is transferred from substation to consumersYou can in our article!

To reduce this factor, distribution networks use the transformation of a low voltage level to a higher level. A simple calculation formula is as follows: P = I * U. Power is equal to the product of current and voltage.


Power consumption, W Voltage Current, A
100 000 220 454,55
100 000 10 000 10

By increasing the voltage during electric power transmission in electric networks, it is possible to significantly reduce current, which will make it possible to dispense with wires with a much smaller diameter. The pitfall of this transformation is that there are also losses in transformers that someone has to pay. When transmitting electricity with such a high voltage level, it is significantly lost from poor contact of conductors, which over time increase their resistance. Losses increase with increasing air humidity - the leakage current at insulators and the crown increases. Also, losses in cable lines increase while reducing the insulation parameters of the wires.

Electricity of the net

The manufacturer transferred the energy to the supplying organization. That, in turn, should bring the parameters into the necessary indicators: convert the resulting product into a voltage of 6-10 kV, distribute with cable lines along the distribution step-down substations, in order to convert it to a voltage of 0.4 kV. In this system, transformation losses occur when voltage is reduced by step-down transformers to the desired level. Electricity in the voltage of 380 V or 220V is delivered to the consumer. Any transformer has its own efficiency and is designed for a specific load.The greater the consumer load, the greater the load energy loss in a given network. If the load factor of the transformer is lower than the standard, then the transformer has no-load losses, which is undesirable.

The next undesirable point is the mismatch of the power of the transformer, which converts 6-10 kV to 0.4 kV and the connected load of consumers. If the load of consumers is greater than the rated power of the transformer, it either fails or cannot provide the necessary output parameters. As a result of reducing the voltage of the network, electrical appliances operate in violation of the passport regime and, as a result, increase consumption.

Measures to reduce technical losses of electricity in power supply systems are discussed in detail in the video:

Home conditions

The consumer was supplied with electricity of a voltage level of 0.4 kV. All losses that occur in the network after the boundary of the balance sheet and operational responsibility between the energy supplying organization and the consumer are paid by the consumer.

They consist of:

  1. Losses on wire heating when the calculated load of consumption is exceeded.
  2. Losses due to poor contacts in switching devices (circuit breakers, starters, switches, lampholders, plugs, sockets).
  3. Reactive losses in the network: inductive and capacitive.
  4. The use of outdated lighting systems, refrigerators and other old equipment.

Consider measures to reduce electricity losses in homes and apartments.

Clause 1 - the fight against this type of loss is one: the use of conductors corresponding to the load. In existing networks, it is necessary to monitor the correspondence of wire parameters and power consumption. If it is impossible to adjust these parameters and bring them back to normal, you should put up with the fact that energy is lost on heating the wires, as a result of which the parameters of their insulation change and the likelihood of a fire in the room increases. About, how to calculate the cable cross-section by power and current, we told in the corresponding article.

Photo wire heating

A.2 - poor contact: in circuit breakers - this is the use of modern designs with good non-oxidizing contacts. Any oxide increases resistance. In starters - the same way. Switches - an on-off system must use a metal that can withstand the action of moisture and elevated temperatures. Contact must be ensured by a good pressing of one pole to another.

A.3, A.4 - reactive load. All electrical appliances that do not belong to incandescent lamps, old-style electric stoves have a reactive component of electricity consumption. When a voltage is applied to it, any inductance resists the passage of current through it due to the arising of magnetic induction. Over time, electromagnetic induction, which prevented the passage of current, helps its passage and adds to the network part of the energy, which is harmful to common networks. The so-called eddy currents appear, which distort the true readings of the electricity meters and make negative changes to the parameters of the supplied electricity. The same thing happens with capacitive loading. The arising eddy currents spoil the parameters of the electricity supplied to the consumer. Fight - the use of special reactive energy compensators, depending on the load parameters.

A.5. Use of outdated lighting systems (incandescent bulbs). Their efficiency has a maximum value of 3-5%, and maybe less. The remaining 95% goes to the heating of the filament and, as a consequence, to the heating of the environment and to radiation not perceived by the human eye. Therefore, to improve this type of lighting has become impractical. Other types of lighting appeared - fluorescent lamps, LED lampthat have become widely used recently.The efficiency of fluorescent lamps reaches 7%, and LED up to 20%. Using the latter will save energy right now and during operation due to the long service life - up to 50,000 hours (incandescent lamp - 1,000 hours).

LED lamp

Separately, I would like to note that it is possible to reduce the loss of electric energy in a house with voltage stabilizer installation. In addition, as we have said, electricity is lost when it is stolen. If you notice that neighbors steal electricity, appropriate measures must be taken immediately. Where to call for help, we told in the corresponding article, which referred to!

The above methods of reducing power consumption give a reduction in the load on the wiring in the house and, as a result, reduce losses in the electrical network. As you already understood, the methods of struggle are most widely disclosed for household consumers because not every owner of an apartment or house knows about possible energy losses, and the supplying organizations in their state keep specially trained workers on this topic who are able to deal with such problems.

So we examined the main causes of energy losses in electric networks and measures to reduce them. Now you know why energy is lost on the way from the substation to the house and how to deal with this problem!

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(9 votes)


  • Eugene

    Please tell me how the wire from the inoperative household appliances (TV, microwave, computer, phone charger, etc.) affects the readings of the electric meter

    To answer
  • Ivan

    Watching how they do not work. After all, on a TV and microwave included in the network, the lights are lit at least, that is, some kind of current flows through them anyway. In this case, consumption will be miserable at all. Maker, drill, etc. included in the network they will not affect the counter at all, because there, an absolutely broken circuit turns out, well, the maximum, it will take something to charge and discharge the electric capacity of the wires that stretch to these devices, but it's generally dust ...

    To answer

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