Making Cents of Kilowatt-Hours

What’s an hour worth?

In “The Juice” I discussed the quantity of power my house had consumed in one year. I was surprised out how far below the national average we were, but that wasn’t the most surprising thing I saw in the numbers below.


The surprising thing was the per-kwh cost. Nine cents!

What does that mean? It takes an old fashioned incandescent 60 watt bulb over sixteen hours to use one kilowatt-hour, almost 67 hours with a compact fluorescent. So if you go off to school or work and leave a light on all day you spend a nickel if you’re old school and not even a full penny if you’re newfangled. Worst case, do it for a month old-school and you’ve cost yourself one sixteen ounce soft drink.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, it takes about a pound of coal to generate one kilowatt-hour of electric power. So electricity (conveniently delivered right to my home, 60 watts, 8 hours a day for a month) and root beer (at a local convenience store, chilled, bottled, 16 oz) cost about the same.

Weird, huh?

6 thoughts on “Making Cents of Kilowatt-Hours

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