When you get an energy bill, the main focus point understandably is the total cost of your energy usage and how much you pay on a monthly/quarterly or annual basis.
But if you look at the detail of your bill, you will see the price broken down and charged in something referred to as kWh. This is because all the energy used within your home is measured by kilowatt hours or kWh for short.
The price per unit you pay will be determined by your energy supplier, tariff and pricing plan where you live. On average, electricity costs 17p per kWh and gas costs 3p per kWh.
What is a kilowatt hour (kwh?)
A kilowatt-hour is the measure of all the energy you use in your home. One kWh equates to 1000 watts. Every appliance throughout your home is measured in watts. Every energy provider charges per kWh. For example, if you were to leave on a 100-watt lightbulb, it would take 10 hours for it to use 1000 watts or 1 kWh of power.
You can find the wattage of every appliance throughout your home by checking the packaging or label. Watts essentially measure the rate at which energy flows through an electrical item.
What can one kWh actually power?
This is a difficult question to answer because different appliances will offer different wattages; therefore, the kWh usage can vary significantly. Especially when comparing an older electrical appliance to a newer, more economical version.
Here are some rough examples of what 1 kWh can power:
- One dishwasher standard cycle
- Two days of laptop use
- A 10,000 watt shower for 6 minutes
- Cooking using a 2,000 watt oven for 30 minutes
- Around 3 hours viewing on a plasma TV
- Powering a broadband router for five days
- Boiling a kettle ten times
Being aware of the amount you are paying per kWh can help you make smart choices for your home or business regarding energy use. In some cases, you may be able to spot opportunities to cut down your energy use which in turn could significantly reduce your bill.
What’s the difference between the daily charge and kWh price?
To choose a competitive energy tariff, it’s critical to understand what a standing charge is in addition to the kWh price.
So here, we will look at what each actually means and the difference between them.
A unit rate refers to the price of electricity and gas per unit of all the energy you consume within your household. This is your kWh charge, and the price you pay per 1000 watts or per kilowatt is your unit rate. The unit rate you pay will vary depending on your supplier, the tariff you are on, how you power your home and even which region you live in within the UK.
Daily standing charge
A daily standing charge is the fixed price you pay per day to your energy supplier regardless of how much or how little gas and electricity you use. The standing charge covers the cost to your energy supplier for maintaining a constant supply of gas or electricity supply to your home, which includes the following services:
- Keeping your home connected to the energy grid
- Use of the wires and pipes across the country which carry gas and electricity to your home
- Admin tasks such as meter readings by their employees or contractors
A daily standing charge is applicable for both a gas and electricity supply. If you are on a dual fuel contract, you will see a daily standing charge for each fuel. On your energy bill, this will be under the heading daily unit rate. So even if your home remains empty and no gas or electricity is consumed, this will be the base price you will pay.
A daily standing charge is not the same across the board and can vary significantly from supplier to supplier. So in addition to your kWh charge, it’s essential to know your standing charge, and you can work out how much you are paying per year by multiplying the amount by 365.
Currently, there is no price cap on the daily standing charge, but one could be implemented in the future.
What is the average price per kWh in my region?
The table below details the average price you can expect to pay per kWh depending on which UK region you live in. The average household in the United Kingdom pays 17.40p per kWh. With Wales and Merseyside paying the highest prices at an average of 18.60 pence per kWh.
In comparison, the cheapest rates can be found in Yorkshire.
|Region||Average variable unit price (£/kWh)|
|East Midlands||£ 0.169|
|North East||£ 0.169|
|West Midlands||£ 0.171|
|North West||£ 0.172|
|South Scotland||£ 0.173|
|South Wales||£ 0.177|
|North Scotland||£ 0.178|
|South East||£ 0.178|
|South West||£ 0.180|
|Northern Ireland||£ 0.181|
|Merseyside & North Wales||£ 0.186|
|United Kingdom||£ 0.174|
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice on any matter. You should not rely on the information published in this article.