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What the Heck is a Kilowatt-Hour?

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Before you can truly understand how much electricity costs your business, it’s important to first understand how electricity is measured. 

Have no fear: Direct Energy Business is here to help. We’ve put together a new, informative video series – Lightbulb Moments – to help get you up-to-speed on some basic energy terminology. 

If you read your electric bill, you will see that electricity is commonly measured and charged by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). Our latest video helps breakdown what a kilowatt-hour actually is:  

Check out all of our Lightbulb Moments videos here.

As the video shows, one kWh is equal to the power consumption of one thousand watts sustained for one hour. In essence, it's a building's total energy consumption over a designated period of time.  

But, what does that mean in real terms, and what can you do with one single kWh? 

As it turns out, quite a bit.  

For example, one medium window air-conditioning unit uses 1,000 watts per hour, which of course, is equivalent to one kWh. Additionally, a 100-watt light bulb used for 10 hours is also equivalent to one kWh. 


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Using the lightbulb example, here’s the calculation to find your total kilowatt hours used: 

Wattage (100) x Hours used (10) / 1,000 = Kilowatt Hours Used (1kWh).

If you multiply your kWh hours used with your price per kWh, you can also find the cost of your electricity. 

The equation looks like this:

Wattage x Hours used / 1,000 x Price per kWh = Cost of Electricity

Stay tuned for more upcoming Lightbulb Moment video posts on other important energy concepts and terminology.

Can’t wait to learn more? 

Download the Energy 101 Cheat Sheet

Posted: May 16, 2017

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