Friday, 27 September 2019

SMART CONSUMER - Understanding The Earth, Neutral and Phase Points

When you call an electrician what does he check? How does he identify faults in your electricity supply lines? Do you have clear understanding of the Phase, Neutral and Earth points in the sockets of your house?

Well, we are not trying to teach you Electrical Engineering. As a consumer, it is smart to be aware of the electricity distribution from Power Plant to your house. It is also important to understand the Phase – Neutral – Earth points and what is their importance. 

Let us first understand the basic of domestic electricity supply chain.

Domestic electricity supply can be broadly divided into three categories:

       1. Generation
       2. Transmission
       3. Distribution

GENERATION: Generation happens in big power plants (Thermal, Hydro, Nuclear, Solar, Wind etc)

TRANSMISSION: Generated power is stepped up for ease of transmission. Power is transmitted via DELTA connection, (a Delta connections needs only 3 wires R-Y-B).

DISTRIBUTION: From the transmission lines the power is stepped down through local transformers and from the local transformer connection is distributed to individual houses. 

From the local transformers power is distributed to different houses as STAR connection which is having 4 wires. Three Phase wires and one Neutral wire. The Neutral point in the transformer is connected to the ground.

For domestic connections, the Neutral point is common, and any one phase (R, Y or B) is given as line to individual houses.

Understanding the Socket

According to electricity rules, the left point will be Neutral (N) and the right point will be Phase (P). The Earthing (E) point will be at the top. The earthing is used for safety purpose.

Point P should always have power, this can be checked by a Tester. The N point has no power in it, it cannot be checked with a Tester. To check the N point, a test lamp should be used.

What is the difference between Earth and Neutral?

Neutral is connected to the Neutral point of your local distribution transformer.
The Earth point is unique, made for your house only.

Why Earthing is important?

If earthing is not done, there will be chances of electrical shock in case there is some fault in the circuit.

No risk of electric shock if Earthing is done even if there is a fault in the circuit.

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