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The kilowatt-hour defined, and what it means to you

Want to cut your home energy use? First, understand how you're charged

By definition, a kilowatt-hour can be easily understood. But it can be hard to make dollars and sense of what it really means for daily home consumption.

To figure out how much it costs to run each electrical device in your home, from appliances to heaters to hair dryers, we turned to BC Hydro Power Smart's Pat Mathot.

What is a kilowatt-hour?

First, a reminder: for electric utilities, the kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the most common billing unit for energy delivered to consumers. A kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt of power expended for one hour of time.

There are two simple elements to understanding your kilowatt-hour consumption:

  • How many watts the device draws
  • How much or how often it's used.

To calculate kWh, you take the wattage of the device, multiply that by the number of hours that you predict it's used, and divide by 1,000. For example, says Mathot, if you use a 100-watt incandescent bulb for 10 hours, then you have consumed 1 kWh of electricity.

Click for details.

Source:  BC Hydro

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