How to Calculate Power

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Do you ever look at your power bill and wonder how the power company calculates power usage? If you want to get an idea of how much your next bill will be by calculating your power, there are a few simple steps you can take to find out.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Call your power company. The first step you need to take is to call your power company to find out what your rate per kilowatt hour is. You may have a flat rate or you may have an on peak off peak plan. These are plans that offer lower rates during certain hours, for example, between 7:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. If you have a plan like this you will need to calculate the cost for the two separate time frames and then add the totals together. You may be able to find out your rates by looking at your bill, but not all power companies publish rates on the bill.

  • Walk outside. Go outside to the location of your meter. Your meter should be located on the side of your home.

  • Read your meter. Once you know what your rates are the next step you will need to take is reading your meter. Bring a note pad and pen so that you can write down what you see on your meter. Reading your meter is actually very simple. If your rate is the same all the time, you will need to dial 3, and write down the number displayed on the screen. If you are on a special plan where your rates change, you will need to dial 3 for off peak, and 4 for peak.

  • Write these numbers down. If you have a variable plan, you will need to calculate the numbers separately. Be sure to write both the peak and off peak numbers to avoid getting to the two totals confused.

  • Multiply the numbers. If your rate is 5.413 cents per kWh, multiply this number by the number provided on your meter. If you have a variable rate plan, you will need to do two separate calculations.

Tips & Warnings

  • The majority of homes now have digital meters, but if you have an old fashioned clock meter you just need to read your meter from left to right and write down the higher number.
  • Depending on your area, it may be wise to switch to a fixed rate plan or a variable plan. A fixed rate plan is a plan where you pay the same rate all year long.
  • One way to save on your electric bill during the summer is to invest in a solar powered attic fan. In most states it can cost less than $600 total with installation. If you live in Arizona or one of the hot states this could help you save on your electric bill. When the attic stays cooler, the air conditioning unit won’t need to kick on as often.

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