All you need to know about kWh

What Is A Kilowatt Hour?

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    Guide Author

    James Longley

    Managing Director

    min read
    Last Updated January 7, 2022
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    If you want to save money on your energy bills, then it’s important to know how much electricity and gas you’re using, and how your energy provider bills you for this. This means it pays to understand how many of kilowatt hours (kWh) your appliances use and how much your supplier charges you for them. But, first of all, what is a kilowatt hour and what does kilowatt hour mean? In this guide, we explore each of these topics to give you a greater understanding of how you’re charged for the power you consume.

     

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    What does kilowatt hour mean?

    So, what does kilowatt hour mean? A kilowatt hour, or kWh, is how energy is measured and is commonly used as a billing unit for the energy delivered to customer by

    How much is a kilowatt hour? A kilowatt hour is equal to 1,000 watts of energy used over the course of an hour. Your electricity or gas provider uses this unit of energy to calculate how much they should charge you for the power your home or business consumes.

    Different makes and models of appliances use varying levels of energy but, to give you a rough idea of how much energy a kilowatt hour represents, it may be approximately equivalent to boiling a kettle 10 times or spending two days on your laptop.

    You can be much more precise than this, however. It’s straightforward enough to work out how many kilowatt hours specific electrical devices use. Most of the appliances you find in your home or workplace are rated in watts. This information should be provided on the product label. If you can’t find it there, check the owner’s manual. Once you have the energy rating in watts, convert it into kilowatts by dividing it by 1,000 and then multiply this figure by the number of hours you use the device for. For example, if a desktop computer has a power rating of 100 watts and you use it on average for eight hours a day, it will consume 0.8kWh of electricity per day.

    How to read kilowatt hour on an electric bill

    You will be able to find the number of kilowatt hours your property has consumed in your energy bills. This figure should be prominently displayed on each bill. Look out for it in the ‘usage’ section. Your electricity or gas supplier will clearly set out how many kilowatt hours you have used and how much you are paying per kilowatt hour.

    Seeing this information and understanding exactly what it relates to can be a good incentive to find ways to lower your energy usage and cut your gas and electricity bills. For example, you can see how your home or business energy usage compares to the national average. If your consumption is greater than average, you may want to look for ways to save power. This could involve replacing old devices with more efficient models and/or changing the way you use your appliances. For instance, you could get into the habit of switching electricals off rather than leaving them on standby when you’re not using them.

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    What is the average cost of a kilowatt hour?

    It’s common to ask, ‘how much is a kilowatt hour?’ or ‘what is the average cost of a kilowatt hour?’, but there’s no set answer to this question. The amount you pay per kilowatt hour for gas and electricity will depend on a range of factors, including the type of energy plan you’re on, where you’re based, the payment method you use (for example, prepayment or credit) and – depending on your tariff – what time of the day or night you consumed the energy.

    Since there’s no standard price for gas and electricity in the UK, the amount you pay per unit could vary significantly from your neighbour. However, it does pay to keep an eye on average prices. According to the Energy Saving Trust, the cost of electricity can be up to three times higher per kilowatt hour than gas. Currently, average electricity prices are around 15p per kilowatt hour, while gas is around 4p per kilowatt hour. As touched on previously, though, what represents a good deal for you will depend on a whole host of different factors. This means it’s useful to look at what similar households or businesses are paying for their energy.

    Should I consider switching?

    One of the benefits of having a clear understanding of what a kilowatt hour is, how many of these units you’re using, and what you’re being charged for them, is that it makes it much easier to know if you’re getting a good deal from your energy supplier.

    The UK has an open energy market, so there are lots of options when it comes to electricity and gas tariffs, so it pays to shop around for the best deal. To save yourself time and effort, you can turn to an energy comparison and switching specialist such as Utility Bidder. We make it quick and simple to find competitive tariffs, and we can liaise with existing and new suppliers to take care of the switching process on your behalf.

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      Let’s save time, can we automatically gather meter information?

      ? What does this mean?
      To get your quotes at lightening speed we need several key pieces of information which can all be found on your electricity bill. But by simply ticking this box, we can search ‘industry held data’ to get your meter number, electricity consumption and current energy supplier. This means that we can get you quick quotes without asking you to dig out all of your paperwork. This is personal data therefore we need you to allow us to access this information.
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