Interesting facts about electricity

Here are some interesting (and somewhat weird) electricity facts:

  1. All though it is commonly thought that Thomas Edison invented electricity, it was in fact Benjamin Franklin who discovered that lighting and electricity is pretty close to being the exact same thing, but he didn’t invent energy, as energy cannot be destroyed or created, just transformed. Thomas Edison built the very first power plant in 1882 in New York and that year it supplied 85 buildings with electricity. This plant, Pearl Street Station in lower Manhattan, started with one generator and it produced power for 800 electric light bulbs. Within 14 months, the Station had 508 electricity consumers and over 12 000 bulbs. Since 1882, the electricity industry has grown to generate over 2.5 million watts-hours yearly, which equates to the lighting of 4.8 billion 60 watt incandescent light bulbs annually. He was also responsible for the first light bulb to stay lit for more than a few seconds, along with inventing more than 2000 new products like fuses, switches, meters and sockets and helped with the invention of DC (Direct Current).
  2. Fireflies produce light using chemical energy from their food. This light is even more efficient than that of one light bulb. Other creatures possess this magic too, like the deep sea squid and glow worms. An electric eel on the other hand, does not glow, but it can provide a shock of 600 volts, that is double the 220 volts which can be safely plugged into a socket in your home.
  3. One bolt of lightning has enough electricity to supply 200 000 average size homes!
  4. Iceland is the first and only country to date which relies solely on renewable sources for electricity.
  5. Ever wondered why a bird does not get electrocuted sitting on a power line? That is because both feet are on one power line. As soon as a part of its wing or one foot, touches another power line, a circuit would be created flowing through the body of the bird, causing electrocution.
  6. Sufficient amounts of sunlight reach the earth every minute to satisfy the entire worlds’ energy demands for a year.
  7. I think it is safe to assume almost all of us have used Google numerous times. They account for about 0.013% of the worlds’ energy usage. This equals enough electricity to power 200 000 homes continuously. The energy it takes to conduct 100 searches on their website, is the equivalent of a light bulb burning for 28 minutes.
  8. A refrigerator uses less energy than a Playstation 3.
  9. The average laptop idles at 20 watts, while a desktop computer idles at 80 watts.
  10. The Statue of Liberty was the first lighthouse to use electricity in 1886.
  11. The first bridge that used electricity was the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
  12. Electricity can be made from wind, light, water and even animal manure.
  13. It is a little known fact that only ten percent of the traditional light bulb is used for actual lighting. The other 90% of the energy creates heat.
  14. During a hurricane, 50 to 200 trillion watts of heat energy are released. This is the same amount of energy as a 10 megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.
  15. A simple spark of electricity, can measure up to 3000 volts.
  16. South Africa was the country with the cheapest electricity in the developed world. That was until the staggering 27.8% tariff increase. According to the Electricity Report & Pricing Survey, Canada is now the cheapest in the world, with South Africa following in second place with a 7% higher electricity tariff than Canada. Italy and German on the other hand, has the most expensive electricity rates in the world.
  17. The speed of electricity is considered faster than any other thing in the world at 300 000 km per second. In fact, if you had a light switch in your house connected to a bulb on the moon, you could go around the world 8 times during the time it takes you to light the bulb by just turning on the switch.
  18. Eskom is responsible for approximately 95% of all electricity used in South Africa and about 45% of Africa’s usage.
  19. The difference between AC (Alternating Current) and DC is in the way the electrons flow. With DC electrons move in a single direction, while in AC, electrons constantly switch direction. AC is what we use in most homes, as it is much safer and it used over longer distances than DC can.
  20. Alessandro Volta was the one who discovered that when two strips of different metals were placed in sulfuric acid and connected to a simple wire, electricity flowed. Thus, he invented the first electric battery.






Electricity has come a long way since the early days of light bulbs. At times, it still fails us. If you have any electrical problems, call us!

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