What is a Kilowatt-Hour?

Measures like inch, pound and teaspoon are easy to understand because we can see them. The concept of the measure called a kilowatt-hour (kWh) is harder to grasp because it is invisible.

To help visualize a kWh, we can define it in terms of the physical exertion a person would have to expend to generate a single kWh. In your home, you would have to beat a batter mixture with a spoon, at an incredible speed, steadily, for 10 hours, to generate energy equal to one kWh.

To figure the average kWh consumption for an electrical appliance, multiply the wattage number by the number of hours the appliance operates, then divide that number by 1,000. Keep in mind that this is an average and appliances vary in size, efficiency and frequency of use.

To figure an estimated cost to operate an appliance, follow the procedure above, and multiply your answer by 8 cents (.08).

For example, to figure the cost to operate a 100-watt lightbulb for 10 hours:
     100-watt lightbulb
x    10 hours
     1,000 watts
÷    1,000
     1.0 kWh
x    $0.08
     $0.08 cost to operate