Electricity charges in your utility bill are summarized in terms of energy and power. Your energy usage is measured in kilowatt –hours (kWh)or the amount of electricity you used during the billing period. The amount of energy is based on the power needed to run your electrical appliances and lights in kilowatts (kW) and the number of hours used.
Your electric meter measures energy use, or kWh, the same way as the odometer on your car tells you the number of miles you have traveled. Your meter measures KW or power similarly to your car’s speedometer, showing you how fast you are driving (miles per hour).
Here are some useful numbers that help get a feel for energy. A human climbing a flight of stairs is doing work at a rate of about 200 watts. A typical household incandescent light bulb uses electrical energy at a rate of 25 to 100 watts, whereas, Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) typically consume 5 to 30 watts.
To get a feel for energy as it relates to your house, take an electric heater with one heating element that might need 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) for power. If it is operating at that power draw *constantly*, for say, four hours a day for 31 days (one month), its energy consumption for the month would be: 1 kW x 4 hrs x 31 days = 124 kWh. If your electricity rate is $0.10 per kWh, then the heater would cost you $12.40 per month to operate.
Time of Use Billing Option
If you are a high energy user, with more than 800 kWh per month, and you have the flexibility of shifting your electric usage, you can opt for a billing type called Time of Use (TOU), instead of the basic service charge billing.
TOU customers pay a higher service charge but a lower delivery charge than standard users. These customers will pay a higher kWh rate during peak demand hours (usually the work day), and less for off-peak hours, when the demand is lower. If you can shift about 80% of your electric usage to off-peak hours, you will most likely benefit from this structure.
The Different Parts of Your Electricity Charges
Take a look at the diagram above to see how electricity is generated and then distributed to the electric grid. Depending on the type of utility company you have (public, private or coop), the final amount billed for your electricity charges is a compilation of several charges.
Different utility companies will have different terminology to describe the following charges (why standardize - that would be too easy). But loosely, most bills will have a variation of the following terms and definitions:
Depending on where you are and how plentiful resources are, electricity charges can vary greatly from utility to utility. Below is a table showing the average electricity charges in the different regions of the US.
Search this site or the web:
Download LiteFaire, a Light Replacement Savings Calculator for Your Android phone or tablet
See your cost and energy savings for replacing light bulbs.
WRITE TO US!
Send your energy tips, photos, or experiences, and funny stories, OR, ask questions. We will publish them for everyone to see!
FOR REAL ESTATE PROS
If you offer real estate products and services related to home remodels or savings, please make a Directory Submission here. Female-owned professionals, contractors, handy-persons, techs and tradespeople are particularly encouraged to submit.
"When nothing goes right, go left."
What did the California wind farm say when it met Lady Gaga?
What’s the best way to charge a car battery?