I have weird question, but I hope somebody can give at least hint what should I read to understand the concept.

Imagine situation:
There is thermal power station and a city that takes power from it. As I understand power station works 24/7 and providing electricity. Now what would happen if all the houses will stop using any electricity? I mean every electric device in the city is turned off.

The questions are:
Will it affect station at all?
If it will affect what will go wrong and what is used in case of such situations?
How long will it take for something to burn out(maybe transformer, idk).

Note: complete city turn off is of course theoretical, but I suppose similar situation can happen if for example at night almost everyone is sleeping at city and load on power station gets smaller like ~40 times.


Power grid managers continuously monitor the load drawn to make sure that they don't overload the grid. If too much power is being drawn, they will contact power plants and ask them to produce more power. If too little is being drawn, the opposite will happen.

It does effect the stations: think of what happens to a car engine. When you're in neutral and push a little on the pedal, the engine revs really high with very little input. However, climbing up a steep hill requires you to push the pedal in much further. Revving the engine really high isn't good for it mechanically, and you get terrible mileage, which translates to wasted fuel. Similar things happen to power plants, albeit the actual process is much more complicated than I described.

This might be of interest to you: Britain from Above (Tea-time Britain)

It doesn't really explain too much the consequences of too much/too low power supply, but does provide a view of what happens behind the scene to keep the grid working.

  • \$\begingroup\$ High peaks in demand affect the water utility as well. They have to make sure the water reservoirs are topped up before big sports events, because all the TV viewers go to the toilet at half-time. \$\endgroup\$ – Li-aung Yip Dec 1 '14 at 8:11

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