We have a new and improved page on "What is kWh?"
This is one of the most important articles for people just starting out understanding their electricity bill! While I am proud of my famous What's a Watt blog, this one is just as important.
The bill you get from your power company gives you your electricity consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The price you pay for that electricity is in cents per kWh. In Georgia, I pay around 9 cents/kWh, up North they pay round 17 cents/kWh, and in Hawaii they pay almost 30 cents/kWh! Thanks Nebraska for this handy chart.
To get your final bill amount, you simply multiply your usage (total kWh/month) times the amount you pay per kWh (your rate). Unfortunately, you also have to pay some flat rate fees your utility charges. Pretty simple right?
This is very obvious, but your goal is to reduce the kWh you consume each month! So how do you achieve this? The best targets are the big power (remember power = watt) users that are on for the longest amount of time (energy (kWh) = power (watt) * time).
When I was working at a Nuclear power plant (no, I don't glow) I remember being confused by Watts and kilo-Watt hours (I was an intern ok!) and I remember reading Michael Bluejay's great write up on the Watt/kWh . Here is another good article from Appropedia.
I am going to go into much more detail in part 2 of What is a kWh. I dont want to turn too many readers away at the technical stuff by writing too much at once. It is important, so PLEASE don't blow it off. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to saving money and helping the environment.
Use the kilowatt hour calculator below to see how much it costs you to run an appliance. Look at the cord or on the appliance to see how many watts the appliance uses and fill in how long you keep the appliance on per day. If minutes, divide by 60 to get the units in hours. You'll have to know how much your utility charges you per kwh. If you don't know your rate, you can find the average rate in your state by looking at the first image on the Electricity Graphics page.