Electric-power transmission is the bulk transfer of electrical energy, from generating power plants to electrical substations located near demand centers. This is distinct from the local wiring between high-voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric power distribution. Transmission lines, when interconnected with each other, become transmission networks. The combined transmission and distribution network is known as the "power grid" in the United States, or just "the grid". In the United Kingdom, the network is known as the "National Grid".
A wide area synchronous grid, also known as an "interconnection" in North America, directly connects a large number of generators delivering AC power with the same relative phase, to a large number of consumers. For example, there are four major interconnections in North America (theWestern Interconnection, the Eastern Interconnection, the Quebec Interconnection and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid), and one large grid for most of continental Europe.
Historically, transmission and distribution lines were owned by the same company, but starting in the 1990s, many countries have liberalized the regulation of the electricity market in ways that have led to the separation of the electricity transmission business from the distribution business.