Is the electrical grid a centralized, decentralized, or distributed network?

Each dot represents a generating station, consumer, or relay of electricity:
Centralized vs. Decentralized vs. Distributed

Which type is the most efficient (has the least losses, electrical/heat dissipation)? System "losses are typically between 7% and 12% of the power delivered to consumers" (Casazza & Delea, Understanding Electric Power Systems p. 49). Couldn't it be more efficient than this?

Wouldn't it be more efficient for each consumer of electricity to have his own, smaller generator, rather than large centralized generators with more loss in transmission?

  • $\begingroup$ Which country are you talking about? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 16 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ Are you doing some sort of essay? see this: engineering.stackexchange.com/q/60406/10902 $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 16 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike No. Why do you ask? $\endgroup$
    – Geremia
    Commented Apr 16 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike "Which country are you talking about?" A large one, like the 🇺🇸. $\endgroup$
    – Geremia
    Commented Apr 18 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Distributed seems like it would have the least amount of power outages. Depending on where the power cutoffs are located Centralized seems like it would be the easiest to maintain and while keeping the most customers with power. Decentralized seems to be a hybrid of centralized and distributed, which is an interesting model. I think you get the best of both worlds with decentralized. The only issue I see is that both Centralized and Decentralized loose power from the main hub the whole system goes down. The Distributed doesn't seem to suffer that issue.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.