Kilowatt Hour Consumption
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
In 2020 the average price per kWh in the Unites States was about 15 cents. That doesn't sound like much until you remember the tens of thousands of kWh you are being billed for each month! Its probably a good idea to understand what these things are.
Kilowatt Hours (kWh) are the units of energy used to measure the consumption of electricity. They are the result of multiplying kW demand (discussed in two previous posts) and time. Sounds complicated but it really isn't.
In our last post, we learned that ten 100-watt light bulbs operating simultaneously require 1,000 watts or 1 kW of electricity. When we flip the switch those bulbs demand one kilowatt of power. When we flip the switch off, the electricity stops flowing and the power demand for those bulbs drops to zero.
This month, we're leaving the lights on. That's right, we leave them on for an hour. When we do that the bulbs will consistently require 1,000 watts (1 kW) of electrical energy to stay illuminated. That 1,000 watts of power flowing continuously for one hour is equal to 1,000 watt hours or 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electrical energy.
1,000 watts x 1 hour = 1,000 watt hours
1,000 watt hours = 1 kWh
Now let's assume we only turn on one of those 100 watt bulbs and we leave it on for 10 hours. The electrical demand is significantly less than in our first example at only 100 watts, but because the bulb burns 10 times longer the amount of energy consumed is the same 1 kW.
100 watts x 10 hours = 1,000 watt hours
1,000 watt hours = 1 kWh
The meter used to measure your kWh consumption operates a lot like the odometer in your vehicle. They all start at zero and most roll over at 100,000.
The utility reads the meter at the beginning and end of the billing period finds the difference in the readings and that difference is your kWh
consumption. Very much like taking readings on your odometer before and after a trip to calculate how many miles you have traveled.
You may want to try reading the meter yourself and see how many kWh are being consumed in a day, a week or even an hour. Its really very simple once you get the hang of it and it will give you insight into how your facilities are using electricity.
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