What’s the Difference Between kWh and kW
When you get your business energy bills, what information do you pay attention to? Many people look straight for the total cost to see how much they need to pay or to make sure they haven’t got into too much credit or debt on their account. Perhaps you check the specified meter readings too to ensure they’re in line with the information displayed on your meter.
But do you look at the number of kilowatt hours (kWh) your business has used? You have probably seen this unit on your bills before, but maybe you don’t have a clear understanding of what it refers to and have never had the time to research this issue. It’s worth familiarising yourself with kWhs because doing so can help you to understand how your business energy supplier calculates your bills – and which appliances are costing you the most to run. This knowledge can be an important tool in helping you to lower your business electricity and gas bills.
What is kWh vs kW?
To understand what a kWh is, it’s important to know how it relates to a kilowatt (kW). A kW is 1,000 Watts and it refers to the amount of power needed to make a device work. In contrast, a kWh is the amount of energy that has been used over a period of time.
For example, if a label on your air conditioning unit tells you it has a 3,500 Watt rating, this means it needs 3.5 kWs to work and it would use 3.5 kWh of energy if it was switched on for one hour. In contrast, a 100 Watt lightbulb would need 0.1 kWs to run and would have to be on for 10 hours to use just one kWh of energy.
As mentioned previously, a kW is 1,000 Watts. Watts are a measurement of power equal to one joule of work performed per second. A Watt is also equal to 1/746 horsepower. It gets its name from the British engineer and inventor James Watt.
Most electrical devices are rated in Watts, and you should be able to find out how many Watts your appliances require in order to function by checking the labels. If you can’t find the information there, take a look at the owner’s manual.
What is a kWh?
KWhs are the units of energy that utility companies use to measure how much electricity and gas your business is consuming. When you’re checking an energy bill, you’ll see the amount of power you’ve used expressed in kWhs. In many ways, this is the most important piece of information contained within your bills because it lets you know exactly how much electricity and gas you’re using.
Your utility provider will charge a certain amount per kWh, so seeing how many of these units you’re using and what this is costing you can be a great incentive to start finding ways to save energy and therefore lower your bills. You may want to use the information to see how your business compares to the average consumption of other similar businesses in terms of how many kWhs you use. If you discover that your energy consumption is higher than average, it might be that your appliances are inefficient. Alternatively, it could show that you’re wasting energy in various ways – for example, by leaving electrical equipment on standby when you’re not using it rather than turning it off at the mains.
Where will I find kWh on my energy bill?
Information on your energy use in kWhs will be provided in your bills or annual statements. Normally, it appears under the ‘usage’ section of these documents. Your bill will detail how many kWhs of energy you have consumed and how much you are paying per kWh.
How do I calculate how many kWhs a device is using?
Calculating how many kWhs specific devices use is easy. First, you need to refer to the power rating of the device. This information is typically provided in Watts. You will need to convert this figure into kW by dividing by 1,000. For example, a hob in a restaurant may use 2,000 Watts, which equates to 2 kW. You then simply multiply this kW power rating by the length of time you typically use this appliance for. If you run your hob for six hours during a normal day, your calculation will be 2 (kW) x 6 (hours), which equals 12 kWh per day.
You can then take this a step further and work out how much the appliance is costing you to run by multiplying the kWh figure you’ve just calculated by the rate your energy supplier charges per kWh. For instance, based on the usage figures outlined above, if your electricity supplier charges 14.36p per kWh, you will be spending roughly £1.72 a day to run your hob.
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Rob says that thanks to the competitive rates secured by Utility Bidder in his studio, it would actually be cheaper to live there than at home! “We pay about £30 a month for gas during the winter and around £25 a month for electricity – and that’s despite having a lot of energy guzzling equipment such as studio lights and fan heaters. Our energy bills at home are far more expensive!”