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Understand Electric Usage

Understand Electric Usage

Our Member Service Representatives at CCEC often hear from members during the winter months who are inquiring about higher than normal electric bills. More often than not, the higher bill is caused by seasonal heating. When the outside temperatures go down, the energy consumption goes up. By understanding your energy usage, you can take charge of your electric bill. The formula below can help you calculate the energy usage and projected cost.

A watt (W) is a measurement of power. Most appliances and light bulbs are labeled with the wattage they use.

A kilowatt (kW) is equivalent to 1000 watts.

A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a measurement of energy consumption. It is the amount of power used over time, and the basis for how electric bills are calculated.

Calculate Energy Consumption:

Power x Time = Energy
For example, using a 100-watt bulb for 10 hours equals 1kWh.
(100 watts x 10 hours = 100 watt-hours or one kilowatt-hour.)

Calculate Energy Costs:

Power (kW) x Time (hours of operation) x Price ($/kWh) = Cost of Operation

To find out how much it may cost to run a specific appliance, follow these five easy steps. Keep in mind that you are billed per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or for how much electricity you use in one hour.
Examples are based on an average cost of $0.0941 per kWh.

1. Obtain the wattage (watts) from the appliance nameplate. Example: A quartz heater with a nameplate of 1500W. Note: if listed as kW, skip to step 3. If amps are specified, multiply amps x voltage to obtain watts.

2. Divide the number of watts by 1000 to get kW. Example: 1500W ÷ 1000 = 1.5kW.

3. To find out how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) the appliance uses, multiply the kW x the number of hours* the appliance is running each day. Example: The heater runs for 10 hours per day = 1.5kW x 10 hours = 15 kWh per day.

4. *If the appliance operates for less than one full hour, (i.e. a hair dryer), divide the number of minutes by 60. For example: a hair dryer is used 5 minutes each day, or 5 ÷ 60 = 0.083 hours per day. A 1250W hair dryer = 1.25kW x 0.083 hours per day = 0.1 kWh per day.

5. To calculate the daily operating cost, multiply the kWh of the appliance by the average cost per kWh. Example: The quartz heater daily cost = 15 kWh x $0.0941 = $1.41 per day to operate.

6. To calculate the monthly operating cost, multiply the daily cost by the number of days the appliance is used during the month. Example: If you run the 1500W quartz heater 10 hours per day, 30 days per month = 15 kWh x $0.0941 x 30 = $42.36.

Remember: Calculate and Conserve!

For the example used, you might want to conserve energy by putting the heater on a thermostat or timer to decrease the time it is used.

Consider visiting the Touchstone Energy Home Efficiency Analysis Tool to see how your home rates in efficiency.