Electric power transmission is the bulk transfer of electrical energy, a process in the delivery of electricity to consumers. A power transmission network typically connects power plants to multiple substations near a populated area. The wiring from substations to customers is referred to as electricity distribution, following the historic business model separating the wholesale electricity transmission business from distributors who deliver the electricity to the homes.
Electric power transmission allows distant energy sources (such as hydroelectric power plants) to be connected to consumers in population centers, and may allow exploitation of low-grade fuel resources such as coal that would otherwise be too costly to transport to generating facilities. Usually transmission lines use three phase alternating current (AC). Single phase AC current is sometimes used in a railway electrification system.
High-voltage direct current systems are used for long distance transmission, or some undersea cables, or for connecting two different ac networks. Electricity is transmitted at high voltages (110 kV or above) to reduce the energy lost in transmission. Power is usually transmitted as alternating current through overhead power lines.