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An electrician is a tradesperson specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines. and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also specialize in wiring ships, airplanes, and other mobile platforms, as well as data and cable.
Many jurisdictions have regulatory restrictions concerning electrical work for safety reasons due to the many hazards of working with electricity. Such requirements may be testing, registration or licensing. Licensing requirements vary between jurisdictions.
The electric power industry is the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric power to the general public. The electrical industry started with introduction of electric lighting in 1882. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, growing economic and safety concerns lead to the regulation of the industry. Once an expensive novelty limited to the most densely populated areas, reliable and economical electric power has become a requirement for normal operation of all elements of developed economies.
By the middle of the 20th century, electric power was seen as a "natural monopoly", only efficient if a restricted number of organizations participated in the market; in some areas, vertically-integrated companies provides all stages from generation to retail, and only governmental supervision regulated the rate of return and cost structure.
Since the 1990s, many regions have opened up the generation and distribution of electric power to provide a more competitive electricity market. While such markets can be abusively manipulated with consequent adverse price and reliability impact to consumers, generally competitive production of electrical energy leads to worthwhile improvements in efficiency. However, transmission and distribution are harder problems since returns on investment are not as easy to find.
Basic facts about electricity
Electric power is the rate at which electrical energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI unit of power is the watt, one joule per second.
Electric power is usually produced by electric generators, but can also be supplied by sources such as electric batteries. It is usually supplied to businesses and homes by the electric power industry through an electric power grid. Electric power is usually sold by the kilowatt hour (3.6 MJ) which is the product of power in kilowatts multiplied by running time in hours. Electric utilities measure power using an electricity meter, which keeps a running total of the electric energy delivered to a customer.
Electrical power provides a low entropy form of energy and can be converted into motion or other forms of energy with high efficiency.
Electric power, like mechanical power, is the rate of doing work, measured in watts, and represented by the letter P. The term wattage is used colloquially to mean "electric power in watts." The electric power in watts produced by an electric current I consisting of a charge of Q coulombs every t seconds passing through an electric potential (voltage) difference of V is
P = \textwork done per unit time = \frac VQt = VI \,
Q is electric charge in coulombs
t is time in seconds
I is electric current in amperes
V is electric potential or voltage in volts