Understanding Kilowatt Hours: A Guide to Your Home's Electricity and How to Manage It.

Skip navigation

Understanding Kilowatt Hours: A Guide to Your Home's Electricity and How to Manage It.


Electricity is an essential part of modern life, powering everything from our homes to our workplaces.

However, the energy use that comes with it can be a bit of a mystery. One term that you may have heard thrown around is the kilowatt hour, or kWh. So, what exactly is a kilowatt hour, and how does it relate to your home's electricity usage?

First, let's start with the basics. A kilowatt hour is a measurement, a unit of energy equal to one kilowatt (kW) of power used for one hour. In other words, if you have a device that uses one kilowatt of power and you use it for one hour, you have used one kilowatt hour of energy.

Now, let's apply this to your home's electricity use. Your electricity supplier measures the amount of electricity you use in kilowatt hours to calculate your monthly energy bill.

Many factors can make a difference in this calculation, including size of your home, number of occupants, and types of appliances. For example, a home with a large family and lots of energy-intensive appliances like a dishwasher, washing machine, and air conditioning unit will consume more energy than a smaller home with fewer occupants and fewer energy-intensive appliances.

A more direct way to gain a better understanding of your home's electricity usage is to look at your energy bill.  You’ll see how many kilowatt hours you used during the billing period, as well as the cost per kilowatt hour. By tracking your energy use over time, you can identify trends and adjust to reduce your energy consumption and possibly lower your bill.

Popular choices to reduce energy use such as upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, using LED light bulbs, turning off electronics when they're not in use, and unplugging charging cords when not in use are frequently encouraged. By being mindful of your energy use and taking steps to lower it, you can not only potentially save money on your energy bill but also contribute to a cleaner energy future.

When it comes to managing your home's electricity usage, you have the power to choose your energy supplier. Retail energy shopping is a great way to take control of your energy choices. By shopping around for energy providers, you can find options that offer fixed pricing plans, allowing you to budget and plan your energy expenses more effectively. Additionally, you can choose providers that offer renewable energy options, such as wind Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). These RECs represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy generation and by purchasing them, you can support the development and use of cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Matching your energy usage with wind RECs not only helps reduce your carbon footprint but also promotes the growth of renewable energy infrastructure.

By understanding how much energy your home uses and taking steps to reduce it, you could save money and contribute to protecting and preserving the environment.  And friendly reminder, next time you receive your energy bill, don’t forget each kilowatt hour represents a small part of your impact on the environment and you can take simple steps to reduce it.

CAREERS: Discover our company culture and browse exciting career opportunities with WGL Energy.