Electric Utilities

  1. What does an electric utility do?
  2. How do utilities get electricity to our homes and businesses?
  3. Where can I learn more about electric utilities and electric power?

1. What does an electric utility do?

Electric utilities make sure their customers have a reliable source of power for their homes or businesses. This includes maintaining the wires and connections to homes and businesses to constantly managing the amount of power needed and being used. It is a complex operation that requires the ability to operate and maintain a physical system of wires, poles, transformers and other equipment while also managing the broader needs of the system.

Utilities may generate all the electricity they need from the power plants they own or they may purchase power from other sources.

2. How do utilities get electricity to our homes and businesses?

Utilities operate and maintain the system of wires, transformers and other equipment that connects Minnesota to the larger power grid – the national network that makes it possible for power to move across the country to meet customer demand. At the same time, the utilities operate and manage the local system that makes sure homes and businesses can access electricity.

Utilities manage the flow of electricity going through the system to make sure demand is met. The power we use may have been generated at one of the plants in Minnesota or, depending on how much power is being used; the electricity could have been generated outside our state.

Managing the system is a daily challenge that requires a strong team of experts, good equipment and crews who are able to operate and fix power lines to make it all work.

3. Where can I learn more about electric utilities and electric power?

The Edison Electric Institute and the U.S. Energy Information Administration have more information and background about electricity, how we use it, and how important it is to our economy.