John Palcewski's Journal

Works In Progress

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Killowatt Hours Are Adding Up

A kilowatt-hour is the electrical energy consumed in one hour at the constant rate of one kilowatt. The average household in the United States uses about 8,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Power is defined as the rate at which work is done or energy is consumed. The formula for average power is acquired by dividing work by the time needed to perform work: P = W/t. Power has units of newton-meters per second or joules per second or watts.

The electric power produced for our residences come from power plants through a power distribution grid. The electric power derives from a power site within the power plant. The power site of a power system consists of a central mover like a turbine that is then pushed by water or steam to run a system of generators.

The amount of power that a household consumes depends on how many appliances there are and the amount of time they are in use. Some appliances or machineries take a lot of energy to operate, so it will result in more use of power.

But wait!

That guy couldn't be from the electric company because he's got phones hanging from his belt. And of course there would be absolutely no need to measure the voltage of the current, because that's fixed. No, he's trying to track down telephone lines.

Oh, well. Never mind.

Site Meter

  • 1
That's an impressive tool belt.

Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared
The Scout motto means that you are always ready to do what is necessary to help others. It also means you are ready, willing, and able to do what is necessary in any situation that comes along. You are also being prepared to live a full and worthwhile life, being a physically fit, honorable citizen of strong character.

*trying to squelch those dishonorable things I was thinking about that tool belt*


Ah, but there would be no dishonor in him putting his tool to a good use!

Funny you would post this. I've been noticing our new electric meter here at home. (I step outside to smoke frequently, so I have lots of opportunities to examine it.) It's digital -- there's a little LCD screen that displays our exact current electrical consumption, plus the year-to-date total KWH. No more physical spinning wheels or dials.

It's pretty interesting to see my current electrical use out to three decimal places. Pop inside right quick, turn something off, and I can immediately see the change. I'll have to post a picture of it.

And it's funny that you should have the phone guy in your image. His work and that of the electric meter as not as detached as you might imagine. It may not surprise you to know that many, if not most, electric utilities retrieve customer usage information over the same lines they use to deliver the electricity. I.e., they use their own power lines as phone/data lines. (In addition to sending us electricity, they send/receive data over the same metal.)

Disturbingly, though not surprisingly, I've also read that some electric operators are able to recognize patterns in usage with frightening accuracy. By monitoring changes in consumption throughout the day, they can "learn" the electrical signature of devices we use, and essentially know when we are using specific devices.

(I.e. "Power consumption at his residence just increased by 0.859 watts. Looks like he plugged in his cell phone.")

It's no longer possible to be anonymous in this high-tech surveillance state. Virtually everything we do, say, or write ends up in one database or another. Their next logical step is to devise a way to record and store what we think.

  • 1

Log in

No account? Create an account