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What is Electricity?

Electricity is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. As a matter of fact, it can even kill you. The most vital part of electricity is called electric energy. This is what we commonly think of when we hear the word electricity. “Electricity” reminds us of anything that we plug into an electrical outlet in order to make it work, such as lights, refrigerators, video games, microwaves, and computers. Scientists discovered ways to produce electric energy in large amounts in order to make heat, light and motion. These discoveries have improved our lives greatly and for many of us it would be difficult to picture what life would be like without electricity.

FUN FACTS ABOUT ELECTRICITY
  • Electricity travels at the speed of light - more than 186,000 miles per second!
  • A spark of static electricity can measure up to three thousand (3,000) volts.
  • A bolt of lightning can measure up to three million (3,000,000) volts – and it lasts less than one second!
  • Electricity always tries to find the easiest path to the ground.
  • Electricity can be made from wind, water, the sun and even animal manure.
  • Burning coal is the most common way electricity is made in the United States.
  • One power plant can produce enough electricity for 180,000 homes.
  • The first power plant – owned by Thomas Edison – opened in New York City in 1882.
  • Thomas Edison didn’t invent the first light bulb – but he did invent one that stayed lit for more than a few seconds.
  • Thomas Edison invented more than 2,000 new products, including almost everything needed for us to use electricity in our homes: switches, fuses, sockets and meters.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn’t discover electricity – but he did prove that lightning is a form of electrical energy.