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Electricity Management

Electricity Management

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If you've studied geography, you might recognise the term infrastructure. It refers to a set of facilities and systems for a particular function, such as water or transport.

You probably don't think much about electricity infrastructure. But without it, you wouldn't be reading this article right now! Next time you're driving through the countryside, you might spot some electricity infrastructure. Look out for pylons, wind turbines, or utility poles.

Buzzing to find out more? Charge up your brain and take a look at this article!

Electricity Management System

What is an electricity management system?

An electricity management system is a framework for electricity consumers to manage their use.

The systems use IT to monitor and manage electricity use.

Electricity management systems contain:

  • A smart panel, which can be easily integrated with a regular electricity panel
  • Consumption monitors to track electricity usage
  • Smart circuits, which can be turned on or off remotely
  • An app for monitoring and controlling electricity usage

Why Do We Need to Manage Our Energy Use?

Most of the UK's energy comes from fossil fuels. When they are burned, they release carbon dioxide as a by-product. Carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping solar radiation in the atmosphere, warming Earth's surface and contributing to climate change.

Plus, burning fossil fuels releases atmospheric pollutants, causing health problems around the world.

Atmospheric pollutants include carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter.

Managing our energy use will reduce the demand for harmful fossil fuels – and save money!

Electricity Data Management

IT and digital technology can also be used on a larger scale. Electricity data management systems (EDMS) are used by manufacturers to monitor electricity usage in real-time.

Incorporating an EDMS into an energy operation brings a range of benefits, such as:

  • Collecting electricity data in real-time

  • Displaying an overview of data consumption

  • Comparing data from older and newer equipment

  • Identifying areas to improve efficiency and reduce wasted energy

  • Evaluate any changes quickly to avoid errors

Electricity Load Management

First, let's make sure that we understand the concept of electricity load.

Load is the amount of electricity on the grid at any given time.

The load of the grid fluctuates to meet demand. Otherwise, electrical energy would go to waste.

Now, let's learn how load is managed.

High-voltage Grid

Electricity is measured in volts (V).

Voltage (also called potential difference) is the difference in electric potential between two points.

In contrast, current is the rate of flow of electric charge.

Voltage and current are inversely proportional: V = I R

  • V: voltage (V)

  • I: current (A)

  • R: resistance (Ω)

When current flows through a wire, some energy is lost as heat. The higher the current, the more heat is lost.

To minimise wasted energy, the National Grid transmits electricity at a lower current, but higher voltage.

Step-up transformers are used to increase the voltage at power stations. Step-down transformers are used to increase the voltage to a safe level for homes and businesses.

Electricity Recipient
Power Stations25 kV
National Grid Network132 kV, 275 kV, or 400 kV
Large Industrial Consumers33 kV
Rail Network25 kV to 33 kV
Small Industrial Consumers 415 V to 11 kV
Residential230 V

kV is short for kilovolt – equivalent to 1000 Volts.

Peak Shaving

Peak shaving is a strategy used to level out peaks in energy consumption by relying on alternative sources of power.

Industries and businesses can achieve peak shaving by scaling down production, generating power on-site, or relying on energy storage technologies.

Pumped Storage HEP (PSH) Systems

Pumped storage hydroelectricity systems are closely associated with peak shaving. They use electrical power to pump uphill into a reservoir. When the demand for energy is high, the water in the reservoir is released. It flows downhill, travelling through a turbine that powers a generator, converting the kinetic energy into electricity.

Essentially, PSH systems act like a giant battery, storing electrical power and releasing it when needed.

Nicknamed 'the Hollow Mountain', Cruachan Dam is located in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It's one of four PSH systems in the UK. The dam has a capacity of 440 MW (megawatts). That's enough to power almost 100,000 homes!

Locational Factors Affecting Electricity Infrastructure

Electricity infrastructure isn't heterogenous across the world. It's dependent on many locational factors.


Geology affects the presence of fossil fuels and viability of geothermal energy.

Fossil Fuels

Most fossil fuel deposits are located around former oceans, which supported abundant populations of marine microorganisms.

Former oceans are areas that were once covered by water, but are no longer due to tectonic and climatic changes.

The Middle East is home to almost half of the world's crude oil. It was once covered by the vast Tethys Sea, home to marine microorganisms that decayed to form fossil fuels.

If a country never had the right geologic conditions, they will have very limited deposits of fossil fuels.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is heat that comes from within the Earth. It's a renewable and reliable source of electricity, that doesn't produce greenhouse gases or harmful pollutants. However, it's very location-specific. Only regions located near tectonic plate boundaries or hotspots can exploit geothermal energy.

Geothermal power stations are found in locations such as Iceland, Italy, Hawaii, and California.

Physical Geography

The physical geography of a country determines viable resources of renewable energy.

For example, countries with access to the coastline can utilise tidal power and wave power. Landlocked nations cannot. Additionally, countries with rivers and steep relief can utilise hydroelectricity. In low-lying countries, opportunities to generate hydroelectricity are limited.


Many forms of renewable energy are climate-dependent, such as solar power and wind power.

Hot and sunny countries, typically at lower latitudes, have excellent potential for generating solar power.

Namibia is the country with the greatest solar potential. It experiences around 10 hours of strong sunlight per day.

Countries with high wind speeds have the best potential for generating wind power. They're typically found on the coast or in mountainous areas.

As a wet and windy island nation, the UK is the world's number one for offshore wind farm capacity.


Wealthier countries typically have a better electricity infrastructure network than poorer countries. That's because electricity consumption is positively correlated with GDP per capita.

GDP per capita is the total value of all goods and services produced in a country, divided by the population.

As economies grow, the demand for electricity increases. Domestic access to electricity is also associated with improved living standards.

Business Energy Management

How can businesses reduce their energy usage and cut their carbon emissions?

Peak Shaving and Load Shifting

We learned earlier that industries often adopt peak shaving strategies to level out energy consumption. So, what's load shifting, and how do the two compare?

Load shifting is a temporary reduction in electricity consumption, followed by an increase in production off-peak when power prices or grid demand is lower.

In load shifting, the total energy consumption stays the same. That's different to peak shaving, where the total energy consumption decreases.

Energy Saving Techniques

Strategies like peak shaving and load shifting aren't always viable for smaller businesses. How can they manage their energy usage?

  • Energy Management Systems: installing an energy management system can help businesses to monitor and control their energy use.

  • Heat Controllers: these systems use a thermostat to turn heating on or off when the room temperature differs from a predetermined temperature. It's possible to set temperature so that heating is only switched on during normal working hours. This saves energy, and keeps the building at a comfortable temperature for staff and customers.

  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) Systems: these systems use an air-to-air exchanger to recover wasted heat, and supply filtered air to the indoor environment. HRV systems are an energy-efficient and increasingly popular alternative to traditional heating technologies.

  • Insulation: it's best to choose an insulation with a good R-value (indicating maximum thermal performance required to keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer).

  • Installing Energy-efficient Appliances: examples include LED bulbs, eco hand dryers, and commercial dishwashers.

Home Electricity Management

What can people do to manage their household electricity usage?

Pay attention to this section; you might be able to help manage electricity in your home!

  • Turn Off Standby Mode: numerous devices have a 'standby' mode. They're turned off, but still using electricity! Common culprits include TVs and sound systems. Switch these devices off at the wall to prevent wasted electricity.

  • Install a Smart Meter: smart meters monitor your electricity usage. They can be used as part of an electricity management system, or a stand-alone way to cut bills.

  • Switch Off the Lights: turn off lights and lamps when not in use.

  • Don't Overfill the Kettle: unless you're making a pot of tea for the household, the kettle shouldn't be filled to the brim. It uses a lot of energy to boil the extra water.

  • Lightbulb Moment: install an LED (light-emitting diode) bulb next time a lightbulb burns out. They're the most efficient type of lightbulb on the market.

  • Defrost Frozen Food in the Fridge: the frozen food helps keep your fridge cool, so it needs less power to run. Plus, it's more hygienic.

  • Air Dry your Clothes: on warm and windy days, skip the tumble drier and dry your laundry outside.

  • Open the Window when Cooking: open the window before switching on the extractor fan.

I hope that this article has explained electricity infrastructure management for you. Remember that electricity infrastructure can be managed using IT, high-voltage grids, peak shaving, or pumped storage hydroelectricity systems.

Electricity Management - Key takeaways

  • We manage our electricity usage to minimise the requirement for fossil fuels.
  • An electricity management system is a framework for electricity consumers to manage their use. Electricity data management systems are used by manufacturers to monitor electricity usage in real-time.
  • Load is the amount of electricity on the grid at any given time. It can be managed by operating a high-voltage grid, using peak shaving strategies, and PSH systems.
  • Locational factors (such as geology, physical geography, climate, and wealth) affect electricity infrastructure.
  • Businesses manage their energy use by incorporating peak shaving and load shifting strategies, or any saving techniques. Households can also manage their domestic energy use.

1. Drax, Cruachan Power Station, 2022

2. Hage G. Geingob, Namibia is poised to become the renewable energy hub of Africa, World Economic Forum, 2021

3. Marshall Distel, Why Does the Middle East Have So Much Oil?, FossilFuel.com, 2020

4. Namit Sharma, The decoupling of GDP and energy growth: A CEO guide, McKinsey, 2019

5. National Fire Chiefs Council, High-voltage networks (national grid), 2022

6. Renewable UK, Wind Energy, 2022

7. The World Bank, Solar Photovoltaic Power Potential by Country, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions about Electricity Management

Electricity management refers to consumers monitoring and reducing their electricity usage.

We can manage electricity usage by managing grid load, adopting load shifting or peak shaving, and other energy saving techniques for homes and businesses.

A load management device is a strategy used to manage load, such as a pumped storage hydropower system.

Most of the UK's energy comes from fossil fuels. When they are burned, they release carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) and harmful pollutants. Conserving our electricity usage reduces the demand for fossil fuels.

Electricity is used in industry, businesses, schools, hospitals, and homes. It's associated with economic growth and a high standard of living.

Electricity comes from renewable resources, nuclear resources, or fossil fuels.

Final Electricity Management Quiz

Electricity Management Quiz - Teste dein Wissen


What is an electricity management system?

Show answer


An electricity management system is a framework for electricity consumers to manage their use.

Show question


Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. What does this mean?

Show answer


Carbon dioxide traps solar radiation in the atmosphere, warming Earth's surface and contributing to climate change.

Show question


What are electricity data management systems used for?

Show answer


Electricity data management systems are used by manufacturers to monitor electricity usage in real-time.

Show question


Define load.

Show answer


Load is the amount of electricity on the grid at any given time.

Show question


What is voltage?

Show answer


Voltage is the difference in electric potential between two points.

Show question


Current is inversely proportional to voltage.

Show answer



Show question


What voltage is received by residential areas?

Show answer


230 V

Show question


Define peak shaving.

Show answer


Peak shaving is a strategy used to level out peaks in energy consumption by relying on alternative sources of power.

Show question


How do pumped storage hydroelectricity sytems work?

Show answer


PSH systems use electrical power to pump uphill into a reservoir. When demand is high, the water is released, travelling through a turbine that powers a generator.

Show question


How does geology affect electricity infrastructure?

Show answer


Geology affects the presence of fossil fuels and viability of geothermal energy.

Show question


Electricity consumption is negatively correlated with GDP per capita.

Show answer



Show question


Choose two energy resources that can't be exploited by landlocked countries. 

Show answer


Tidal power

Show question


Define load shifting.

Show answer


Load shifting is a temporary reduction in electricity consumption, followed by an increase in production off-peak when power prices or grid demand is lower.

Show question


Where can geothermal energy be exploited?

Show answer


Geothermal energy can be exploited near tectonic plate boundaries or hotspots.

Show question


What is the most efficient type of lightbulb?

Show answer


The most efficient type of lightbulb is a light emitting diode (LED).

Show question


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