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Friday, February 23, 2024

What Is a Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) & How Does It Impact My Energy Bill?

The amount due is the only part of an electric bill most people look at every month. People might glance at the other information on the page, but most people just want to make sure the bill isn’t abnormal. While it might not seem important, understanding energy use is the best way to adjust your energy consumption and lower your overall electricity bill.

The first helpful step in understanding your energy usage is knowing what a kilowatt-hour is. When you do, you’ll see how kWh affect your energy costs and electricity bills

What is a Kilowatt-Hour?

A kilowatt is a unit used to measure power, which is the rate at which energy is consumed. A kilowatt-hour, on the other hand, is used to measure how much energy you’ve used. Although it may seem confusing, a kWh does not measure how much energy you’re using in an hour. It measures the total amount of energy you use and is equal to running a 1,000-watt appliance for an hour.

To help illustrate what a kilowatt-hour is, imagine a vehicle traveling at 100 mph. The speed of the vehicle is analogous to power (watt/kilowatt); it is the rate at which the vehicle is traveling just as power is the rate at which energy is being used. The total distance traveled is analogous to energy (kilowatt-hour). If you travel 100 mph for 1 hour, you have traveled 100 miles. Similarly, if you ran a 1,000-watt appliance for 1 hour, you have spent 1 kWh of energy. 

How Does a Kilowatt-Hour Relate to Appliance Use?

Each appliance uses a different amount of power and can be run for a varying amount of time. Both of these factors impact the overall amount of kilowatt-hours you use in a month. It’s difficult to give precise examples of kilowatt-hour usage, but below are a few approximate examples: 

1 kWh of energy 

  • Running a 1,400-watt vacuum for 43 minutes
  • Running a 1,500-watt space heater for 40 minutes
  • Leaving a 100-watt lightbulb on for 10 hours
  • Using a 2,400-watt electric oven for 25 minutes
  • Using a 170-watt desktop computer for 5.9 hours

How to Calculate Kilowatt-Hour Per Appliance (Formula)

To calculate the kWh per appliance, first, collect information on each appliance using these steps:

  1. Take out a sheet of paper & create a list of the appliances you use most often such as the television, washing machine, coffee pot, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc.
  2. Find the appliance tag that lists the device’s wattage. Record this information.
  3. Estimate how many hours a day that you use each item.

Now, you can then calculate the kWh for each appliance. 

The calculation you will use is: (watts x hours) ÷1,000. 

If you’re on your desktop all day for work, then your calculation may look like this:

170-watts x 8 hours = 1,360 ÷1,000 = 1.36 kWh. 

Once you know how many kilowatt-hours you use in a given day, you can calculate your monthly total. 

Why Do I Need to Know About Kilowatt-Hours?

It can cost you money. The cost of a kWh varies depending on the state you live and the type of energy market. However, according to Statista, the average residential electricity price in the U.S. was about 13.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2020. Check your energy bill to see how much your electricity company is charging you per kWh so you can calculate exactly how much money you’re spending on each appliance in your home. 

Understanding your energy bill has two main benefits. First, it helps you become more aware of where exactly you’re using the most energy in your home. As you calculate each appliance usage, you may realize you leave the lights on too often or perhaps you could run the air conditioner a little less. 

The second main benefit of understanding your energy bill is that it usually saves you money. When you’re aware of where exactly you’re using the most power, you start to find ways to cut back on that energy use. This ultimately will lower your bill and save you money in the long run. If you’re looking for other ways to reduce your power consumption, a good place to start is upgrading your appliances to energy-efficient models. Look for models that are Energy Star compliant the next time you shop for a new microwave or dishwasher, and you’re sure to see your electricity bill improve.

How to Set Up Electricity: 5 Tips to Help You Sign Up for a New Energy Plan

Buying a new home is an exciting time in your life, and an important part of homeownership is setting up utilities. It’s inconvenient to start moving in without working lights or outlets; so setting up electricity is usually a priority.

If you’re unfamiliar with the electric utility setup process, this guide will help you check off all the right steps. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have an energy plan picked out and will soon have electricity flowing to your new home. 

Discover the Electricity Plans Available in Your Area HERE

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1. Check if you’re in a regulated or deregulated energy market

A regulated versus deregulated energy market will have a big impact on your energy options. If you live in a regulated market, then there is likely one energy company with a monopoly on the energy grid. Your choice of energy company will be drastically limited, or you may only have one provider that will supply energy. 

A deregulated market, on the other hand, has a lot more variety when it comes to energy providers and plans. In a deregulated market, electricity generators sell electricity to retail providers who then sell the energy to consumers. If you live in a deregulated market, then the next step is really important for you. 

2. Compare energy rates & plans

Reach out to the various electricity providers in your area for price quotes and energy plan options. This is also a good time to do a little research on the different types of energy plans. As you do, you’ll be able to to pick the best option for you if you have a clear understanding of:

Compare energy rates, as well as the term (length) of different energy plans to determine which option seems like the best fit. As you’re reviewing energy plans, make sure you also look for any hidden fees or other associated costs for the plan. Hidden fees can result in higher rates than you anticipated; so, make sure you fully understand the energy plan before making a decision. 

3. Set up electricity with your chosen provider

After you’ve finished comparing rates and energy plans, set up your account with the new provider. You’ll want to get this done about two weeks before your move-in date. The two weeks will ensure your energy provider has enough time to process your information and get your utility set up by your move-in date. 

4. Set the service start date

When you’re done creating your energy account, make sure you specify your electricity start date. It’s suggested you start your electricity service the day before you officially move into your new place. This way you can make sure it’ll be on the day you start unpacking. 

5. Confirm the energy is working

When you get to your new place the first thing you should do is check to make sure the power is on. If it’s not on as scheduled, then give your energy provider a call to check when it will be coming on. It may just be a couple more hours before it’s working or there may have been an oversight in the schedule. Either way, the earlier you call to check in, the better. 

How to Set Up Electricity: Additional Tips

While you’re in the process of setting up electricity at your new home, make sure you remember to cancel the plan at your old residence. You don’t want to pay two energy bills at the same time, so don’t forget to set a shut-off date for your other energy provider. 

Speaking of energy bills, your first month in your new place will likely have a few associated energy fees. For example, you should expect a final bill from your previous energy company. The bill should be prorated based on your shut-off date, so double check the final bill to make sure everything is accurate. 

Some energy companies also charge a transfer or setup fee for your new service. The fee will make your overall energy bill a bit higher than expected for the first month, so be aware of this extra payment. You should always be checking your bill statements to ensure accuracy, but it’s doubly important during the first couple of months to spot any fees or other charges related to your electricity use. 

A little research and attention to detail goes a long way when setting up your energy service. By carefully reviewing provider and plan options, you can select the best electricity plan for your family. You may even be able to save money on energy bills in the process.

Overall, as long as you follow the five steps above, your new home should have electricity as soon as you move in.

Discover the Electricity Plans Available in Your Area HERE

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