If you know what a kWh is, it can help you understand how your energy supplier works out your bills and how much energy you're actually using.
Disclaimer: The information on this page was last updated on 23/12/2022, 13:30:22
‘kWh’ (kilowatt-hour) is one of the most common terms you’ll see when it comes to managing your energy usage. But what does it mean and how does it affect your gas and electricity bills?
A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is one of the many units we can use to measure our electricity usage.
They’re based on watts (W) and kilowatts (kW) (1,000 watts) which measures the rate at which electricity is being used in a period of time.
A kilowatt-hour uses this to measure the amount of electricity being used over time in kW. It isn’t always exactly a measure of how many kilowatts are being used per hour, but the amount of electricity you would use if you kept it running for an hour.
1 kWh is 1,000Wh. It’s also equivalent to 860 calories (kcal)!
In practical terms, 1kWh is roughly the same as:
How much you pay per kilowatt-hour depends on your electricity provider and tariff. Different tariffs have different rates, determined by wholesale prices, competitor prices, location, and Ofgem price caps.
According to The Energy Saving Trust, the average kWh cost in the UK is around 16p, however, you could expect to pay anything between 12p and 25p. You can find out how much each kilowatt-hour is costing you by looking at your bill or tariff information, but here are some of the prices from other providers’ fixed tariffs.
|Provider||Price per kWh|
*Based on a London postcode
When you submit your meter readings, you’re actually telling your provider how many kWh you’ve used. The number you submit is how many kWh has gone through your meter since it was installed, so to find out how much energy you’ve used, simply compare two readings. The difference between the readings is how much you’ve used in that time.
For example, if last month’s meter reading was 10250 and this month’s reading is 10500, you will have used 250kWh.
If you have a smart meter, you can view your usage in real-time or view it over time. Many providers also allow you to compare your usage against previous periods to see how your usage has changed. You can usually find these through your online account or the app.
Did you know that with a smart meter you may never have to submit a meter reading again! 100% accurate bills, all the time. Give us a call to find out more about automatic meter readings.
If you want to calculate the kWh for a specific appliance, simply multiply its wattage by the number of hours you use it and divide that number by 1000.
kilowatt-hour = (watts x time)/1000
For example, if a 60W lightbulb is on for 5 hours, you would do 60W x 5hrs = 300/1000 = 0.3kWh.
Gas usage is measured in ‘gas units’ so is worked out a little differently. While you don’t have to convert gas units to kWh, you might see your usage converted to kilowatt-hours on your gas bill so it’s useful to know when looking into how much you’re spending on your gas bill.
To work out your gas usage in kWh, you’ll first have to find out if you have an imperial or metric meter.
If you have an imperial meter, your gas usage will be measured in hundreds of cubic feet (100ft cubed). To convert gas units to kWh, you should:
The final answer will be your usage in kWh.
If you have a metric gas meter, your gas usage will be measured in cubic meters. To convert gas units to kWh, you should:
The final answer will be your gas usage in kWh.
There’s no set answer to this question, it all depends on your individual circumstances. However, Ofgem collects data every year to work out how much energy the average household uses for you to compare.
|Household size||1-2 bedrooms||2-3 bedrooms||4+ bedrooms|
|Electricity (profile class 01)||1800kWh||2900kWh||4300kWh|
|Electricity (profile class 02)||2400kWh||4200kWh||4300kWh|
If you’re using more energy than you’d like, there are all kinds of different ways to cut back on your usage and spending.
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