What’s a KiloWatt Hour or kWh?

In this blog, we'll explain what the heck a “kilowatt-hour” or a “kWh” is. You’ve probably seen this guy hanging around ever since you started paying your own electricity bills. It’s very important you know what this measurement is, and here’s why.

What is a Kilowatt Hour?

k – 1,000
W – watt, which is the unit of measure denoting how much electricity is transferred
h – hour

Collectively, this three-figure measurement, kWh, is used to explain how much electricity your home consumes in a month. The formula below may help you understand what a kWh truly is. 

Power (watts) X Time (hours) = Energy (kWh)

The kilowatt (kW) is how much electricity you use at a specific point in time. The kilowatt-hour (kWh) is how much electricity you use over a period of time.

Unless you’re an engineer or work for a retail electricity provider (REP), that might not mean anything to you. And when you’re shopping for a new energy plan, you’ll have a hard time finding a more detailed explanation of what the kilowatt-hour truly is.

Kilowatt-hours or kWhs is a hard dynamic to understand. In fact, some REPs take advantage of that.

When you sign up for electricity, you pick a contract that charges a certain amount of money for every kWh you use.

Here’s a Real-Life Example

Think of your energy usage as your morning commute. Your car constantly changes speed, but that increment of speed alone doesn’t tell you how far you’ve traveled.

To track how far you’ve driven, you also have to consider how fast you’ve driven (speed) and how long you’ve been on the road (time).
Speed X Time = Distance

In this same way, you need to know how many watts you’ve used (electricity) and for how long (time) before you can calculate how much electricity you have consumed.
Power X Time = Energy

Wait, There’s a Catch!

Be mindful of which plan you choose because many REPs will include kWh restrictions. Additionally, many REPs structure their rates so that the plan looks good on paper but does not translate well in reality. Therefore, you can easily get charged—essentially penalized— if you use too many kWhs AND if you use too few.

Applied to our earlier metaphor… That’s like asking you to drive your morning commute at a constant speed of 15 mph. Are you confident you can keep your speed constant the entire drive? What about traffic, stop signs, and red lights?

Similarly, you’re not always going to have the same usage every day or every month, especially in the hot Texas summers. So why choose a plan that doesn’t meet your specific energy needs?

At Energy Ogre, we believe that you need to have a plan that’s optimized for you. We take into account your kilowatt-hour usage and any seasonal changes.

We know that everyone is different, and everyone’s energy usage is different, too. When you choose Energy Ogre, we help you find the plan that gives you the best electricity rate based on your own usage.

At the end of the day, it’s okay if you don’t understand the kilowatt-hour because we understand it for you.

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