Representatives of Indiana Michigan Power visited with the editorial board yesterday to argue for their proposed rate hike, and I've gone into a mini obsessive state over what electricity costs:
1,000 watt-hours is a kilowatt-hour (kWh). For example.
- One 100-watt light bulb on for an hour, is 0.1 kWh (100/1000)
- One 100-watt light bulb on for ten hours is 1 kWh (1 bulbs x 100W x 10h= 1000Wh = 1 kWh)
- Ten 100-watt light bulbs on for an hour, is 1 kWh (10 bulbs x 100W x 1h= 1000Wh = 1 kWh)
- Ten 50-watt light bulbs on for an hour, is 0.5 kWh
- Ten 100-watt light bulbs on for 1/2 an hour, is 0.5 kWh
- Running a 3500-watt air conditioner for an hour is 3.5 kWh.
Take a moment to understand the difference between kilowatts and kilowatt-hours. The former is the rate of power at any instant. The latter is the amount of energy used A light bulb doesn't use 60 watts in an hour, it uses 60 watt-hours in an hour.
Electricity now costs the average customer here about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour, the I&M representatives told us, and would cost us about 8.7 cents a kilowatt-hour if the increase is approved. I've been going around the house and looking at all the lights I leave on when they don't need to be on -- four 100-watters I leave on in the living room, even when I'm at work; a 100-watter in the basement and three 40-watters in the kitchen that are on all the time. It's relatively easy to do the lightbulb math and calculate what a wastrel I am. If I start trying to figure out what my air conditioning, computers and appliances cost to run, I'll know I'm really obsessed.