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What is a kilowatt hour?

By Tiffany Reynolds

They may sound similar, but a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt-hour (kWh) serve different purposes. A kWh is a unit for measuring the electricity used, whereas a kW reflects the electricity usage rate. Understanding how kW and kWh compare can help you better track and monitor your electricity usage.

Knowing your kWh usage is the first step in reducing your energy bill. Finding the best electricity plan for your needs will reduce your bills and make room for other costs or savings. That’s where Power Wizard comes in. We can help you choose the most suitable energy provider and electricity plan to lower your bills. Our smart online tools can save you hundreds, and we will do the planning for you.

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Read on to learn more about the comparison between kW and kWh, how they are related to your energy bill, and what is a good kilowatt per hour for you.

How does a kilowatt compare to a kilowatt hour?

Kilowatt (kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh) are interrelated units to measure different things. While kW is a measurement of power, kWh is a measurement of energy. Energy is the capacity to do work, and power is the energy consumption rate.

A kilowatt is a universal standard to measure how much power an electric appliance consumes. One kilowatt is 1,000 watts (W), and you can easily convert W to kW by dividing your wattage by 1,000.

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Kilowatt-hour is the commercial measure of energy needed to stay at 1,000 watts (kilowatt) of power for an hour. A 100-watt bulb will consume 1 kWh of energy after operating for 10 hours.

Essentially, the kWh you see on your energy bill measures your appliances’ wattage and how long you use them.

What you need to determine the energy consumption cost of household electrical appliances

Determining the energy consumption cost of your household electrical appliances can give you an insight into the choices that can raise and lower your electricity bills. Here’s a look at how you can estimate the energy cost of a kilowatt hour.

Price of a kWh of electricity

According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average household in Texas pays 13.30¢ per kWh, while the average Texas commercial property pays 9.75¢ per kWh.

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As you weigh the options before shopping for a new electricity provider, you may be tempted to go for the lowest price per kilowatt-hour. The price per kWh, however, is only one component, and other factors can determine the final price you pay.

Power Wizard can help with that. Our smart online shopping tools can show you the most suitable plans for your needs. It only takes a few minutes of your time to find out how much you can save.

Power Wizard’s savings estimate tool can save you hundreds of dollars. We protect you from hidden charges and gimmicks to help maximize your savings.

Watts of power

The first step towards energy efficiency is finding out the wattage of your appliance. It can usually be found on a product’s bottom, back, power cord, or nameplate. Several appliances consume a varying amount of power depending on the settings.

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For example, a radio set at a high volume or a fan set at a higher speed will use more power than those at lower settings. The wattage stamped on the product is the maximum power it can draw.

If you cannot find the wattage, you can find an estimate by multiplying the appliance’s ampere usage by its voltage usage. The electrical current drawn in amperes might be listed on the product or in the manual. Except for a major appliance, such as a clothes dryer or an electric cooktop that uses 240 volts, most products in Texas use 120 volts. You can also look up the typical wattages of products online.

Hours of electricity used

There are several methods to track energy usage hours, depending on if you want to invest in hardware for exact numbers or estimate the general power consumption.

You can roughly estimate the number of hours an appliance like your television or fan runs daily. For something like a refrigerator, which cycles on and off despite being “on,” you can divide the time it is plugged in by three.

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You can also keep a log for specific appliances. Keeping track of the time spent cooking with a microwave, watching television, or working on your computer can be a practical solution.

If you are willing to invest, go for smart home devices which monitor the electricity your devices use in real-time. Smart plugs, power outlets, and meter reading tools tell you the overall use and allow you to cut off the supply to a plugged-in device to save electricity.

Once you estimate the power your product uses and the hours it runs daily, you can calculate your daily kWh consumption with the following formula: (Watts of power x hours used per day) / 1,000 = Daily kilowatt-hour consumption.

Suppose you watch your 300W, 50-inch plasma television for four hours daily. Your daily kWh consumption will be: (300 x 4) / 1,000 = 1.2 kWh.

The monthly consumption, then, will be 1.2 x 30 = 36 kWh.

With the average utility rate in Texas of 13.30¢ per kWh, your monthly cost to operate the television is: 36 kWh x 0.13 = $4.788.

How is your cost per kWh determined?

In addition to the formula above, you can also use appliance energy calculators like the one at to estimate energy use and cost per billing cycle.

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But how is the cost per kilowatt hour determined? It depends on your electricity provider and your location.

Electricity provider

Like in most markets, electricity cost is connected to supply and demand. During the summer months, the electricity demand is at its highest, causing energy costs to spike.

Texas is a leader in energy capacity, with natural gas, wind, and solar as choices for preferred power generation sources. However, these sources’ operation costs, transportation, and regulation also affect the electricity fees.

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The cost per kWh for your property also depends on the Retail Electric Providers (REP). While you would want to go with the one offering you the cheapest plan, the fine print and technical jargon on the REP contract could cost you hundreds of dollars.

There are hidden fees and “perks” — some tier-based plans will even charge you a higher rate if you use less electricity.

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Over 85% of Texas is deregulated, so customers are free to choose an energy company from various options according to its rates and services. However, the cost per kWh you get can also depend on your location.

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Firstly, the entire Lone Star state is not deregulated. While Houston and Dallas residents can choose their energy supplier, Austin and San Antonio residents must choose their city’s provider.

Even if you’re in a deregulated area, the rates vary according to the utility company servicing your region. The plan you finalize may not be available in your zip code.

Save money every month on your energy costs

You can reduce your household’s overall energy consumption by tracking your usage with a simple smart home device or an estimate calculator tool online. Investing in energy-efficient appliances can also reduce expensive electricity bills.

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However, monitoring your usage is only one component. If your plan charges more than other options, you will still overpay for electricity. Because there are 30+ REPs offering thousands of plans, choosing a new electricity provider can be overwhelming. Power Wizard can suggest the best electric plans according to your profile. With some basic information, our Power Wizard calculator will evaluate electricity plans and offer you the best options.

Our goal is to cut the clutter of hidden charges and technical jargon from your electricity shopping experience. And our white glove service does all the groundwork, such as shopping for new electric providers, comparing rates, signing you up for contracts, and tracking your experience.

Stop overpaying for Texas electricity. Visit Power Wizard to get started today!


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