The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Price of Electric Energy

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Keyspan Utility Bill: 17 May 2006. [utility bill] 18.87 cents to 19.30 cents per kWh
Komanoff, Charles, & Holly Miller, & Sandy Noyes. The Price of Power, Electric Utilities and the Environment. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1972. [table] 1.12 cents to 4.04 cents per kWh
Garwin, Richard L., & Georges Charpak. MegaWatts and Megatons: A Turning Point in the Nuclear Age?. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001: 244. "In 1996 a typical price paid to the producer of electrical energy was $0.06 per kWh ($6/MWh), but the lure of the marketplace efficiencies persuaded the state legislature to deregulate wholesale prices." 6 cents per kWh
Cohen, Bernard L. The Nuclear Option: An Alternative for the 90s. New York: Plenum Press, 1990: 168. "By 1981, the average costs per kilowatt-hour were 2.7 cents for nuclear, 3.2 cents for coal, and 6.9 cents for oil." 2.7 cents per kWh
Residential Electricity Prices: A Consumer's Guide. Energy Information Administration, 19 July 2005. [map] 5.81 cents to 16.73 cents per kWh

Electric Energy is the source of energy for electrical appliances. Your computer, the cooling, and the lighting at your home are all powered by electric energy. Can you imagine life without electric energy? Do you even know how much it costs? Electric Energy is measured in kWh (kilowatt-hour) or MWh (megawatt-hour). Power is equal to work done in respect to time, so work equals power multiplied by time. Since work equals energy, electric energy would be measured by a kilowatt-hour.

P = W/t
W = E = Pt
(1000W)(1h) = 1kWh

The cost of each kWh depends on your location and the company you use. In New York, the average kWh costs 14.31 cents, but it can cost as high as 16.73 cents in Hawaii or as low as 5.81 cents in Kentucky. You're probably thinking that's not so expensive, but when it all adds up, the number can become significant. Just look at your electric bill. An electric bill in New York can come out to be $81.68, depending on which appliances are being used. But imagine your electric bill when you're blasting your air conditioner. It can cost you a few hundred dollars. But you can decrease that cost by using more of your fan in place of your air conditioner because a typical fan would cost you in the teens rather than in the hundreds. This is mainly due to the amount of watts used to power your electric appliances. An air conditioner can use up to a few thousand watts, while a fan would only use a few hundred watts. If you want to keep your electric bill low, substitute high watt appliances for low watt appliances.

Collin Tam -- 2006