# How much does my electricity cost? ## Steps to Calculating Your Electricity Costs & Usage

The first thing to understand is the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt hour. Similar to the way a calorie is a unit of measurement for food, a kilowatt (kW) is a unit of measurement for electricity. A kilowatt hour (kWh) measures how many kilowatts you are using.

In other terms, when you buy milk, you're charged per gallon. When you buy electricity, you're charged per kWh. One kWh is equivalent to using 1,000 watts per hour. To calculate your kilowatt hours, take the wattage of a given device, multiply it by the number of usage hours, then divide by 1,000. It comes down to three simple steps:

1. Choose an appliance or device and find out the watts required for use. Convert that number to kilowatts by dividing it by 1,000.
2. Multiply that number by the number of hours you estimate using that appliance per month. This gives you the number in terms of energy used.

It may still be a bit confusing. Let’s help you through an example of our own. We’ve calculated the cost of a single-lightbulb light that we used in our home for one month, demonstrated in the chart below:

### Example: Calculating Your Electricity Costs

 Step 1: Find the lightbulb’s kilowattage 80 watts / 1000 = .08 kilowatts Step 2: Determine your hours of use per month 90 hours of use * .08 kw = 7.2 kWh Step 3: Find your electricity rate \$0.07 * 7.2kWh = \$0.504

This 80-watt lightbulb that we used for 90 hours in a month when we were charged \$0.07/kWh cost us approximately 50 cents.

## Factors Influencing Electricity Cost

There are a number of factors that contribute to the cost of electricity, including:

• How much electricity you use
• The time of year (summer vs. winter vs. spring)
• When you use electricity (some companies also offer lower rates in the evenings and nights/weekends)