10 Things You May Not Know About Energy

Benjamin Franklin did NOT invent electricity! What? While Benjamin Franklin studied electricity when little was known about it, he did

Benjamin Franklin did NOT invent electricity!


While Benjamin Franklin studied electricity when little was known about it, he did not invent it. 

On June 10th, 1752, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm and used a Leyden jar to collect an ambient electrical charge in the sky from lightning. Here, he demonstrated the connection between lightning and electricity, which later lead to his inventing the lightning rod for ships. 

Benjamin Franklin and a kite

I have to admit, unless you’re an electrician, an engineer, or an energy consultant like me, energy is most likely not the most interesting subject in the world for you.

Never-the-less, it would be very hard to live without it. Too many things you use every day depend on it.

In this article, I am going to cover 10 interesting facts about electricity!

And, at the end of this article you’ll also find a bonus video: a tour through an abandoned power plant, which at the time it was built was one of the biggest power plants in the U.S.

Who invented electricity?

In reality, electricity was not “invented”. It always existed. But over time people learned and invented ways to generate it, to transfer it, and harness its power.

Since I already talked about lightning, let’s take that as an example.

Lightning is simply a massive flow of electrons between the ground and the clouds. It’s a transfer of electricity. It already existed.

Modern devices such as TVs, LED lights, cell phones, and EVs, do not create electricity. They are inventions that harness and consume it.

Ancient Greek philosophers realized that when they rubbed amber against cloth, lightweight objects will stick to it. This was the basis of static electricity and was just the beginning of numerous discoveries made about electricity over the centuries.

Pretty crazy right? Again, not stuff you think about every day!

10 interesting facts about electricity

Interesting facts about electricity
  1. Civilization’s first significant energy invention was fire, and it was only about 5,000 years ago that humans began using other energy sources such as wind.
  2. In America, the first natural gas light was created in 1821; the first oil well was dug in 1859; and the first gasoline car was built in 1892.
  3. Thomas Edison built the first power plant, and in 1882 his Pearl Street Power Station sent electricity to 85 buildings. People were initially afraid of electricity and parents would not let their children near the lights.
  4. Thomas Young was the first to use the word “energy” in its current sense, replacing the traditional term “vis viva”, meaning “living force.”
  5. Only 10 percent of energy in a light bulb is used to create light. Ninety percent of its energy creates heat. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use about 80 percent less electricity than conventional bulbs and last up to 12 times longer.
  6. Refrigerators in the U.S. consume about the same amount of energy as 25 large power plants produce each year.
  7. Enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each minute to satisfy the world’s energy demands for an entire year.
  8. The amount of energy Americans use doubles every 20 years. And between 2008 and 2030, world energy consumption is expected to increase more than 55 percent.
  9. Idle power consumes more electricity than all the solar panels in America combined. For instance, in the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. The average desktop computer idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts. A Sony PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts, both when it’s active and when it’s idle.
  10. On a hot summer afternoon, California consumes the entire output of two large nuclear reactors.


Bonus video tour of one of the most incredible power structures ever built:

James Lightning

James Lightning
Senior Editor, Energy Professionals
(844) 674-5465
Find lower energy rates

Choose Your Energy Supplier

Energy Professionals is committed to finding its customers the best possible rates on electricity and natural gas. Tell us your location and service type and our energy manager will connect you to the most competitive offers.

Switching to an alternate supplier is easy. There is no chance of service disruption, and you'll continue with your current utility for energy delivery and emergency service. Take a few minutes to discover your best offers, and enjoy the benefits of retail energy in your home or business.

1. Energy Type

2. Service Type

3. Zip Code