CMC’s work requires us to dive into the inner workings of public utilities in the multiple states we serve. One of the most important reporting metrics we have is the ability to record how much energy we’ve saved customers we serve. But do we report kW savings or kWh savings?

Let’s break it down.

kW stands for kilowatt. This metric calculates the amount of power needed to operate a mechanical object (AC unit, fan, lightbulb, refrigerator, etc.). There are ranges to this metric. An energy-efficient light bulb might take 0.1 kW to operate, while an industrial humidifier might take 3.0 kW to operate.

kWh stands for kilowatt hours. This metric is the amount of total energy used over the course of one hour. For example, our energy-efficient light bulb example will use 0.2 kWh of energy over a two-hour period. The industrial humidifier would use 6.0 kWh to operate in that same two-hour period.

Put another way, think of a bucket being filled with water. In this analogy, the rate at which the water is flowing represents electrical power (kW), and the quantity of water in the bucket represents Electrical Energy (kWh).

This difference is very important for CMC. We use kilowatts to identify a home or building’s demand, or how much energy it’s using at a given moment. Kilowatt hours identifies a home or building’s energy consumption, or how much energy it’s using over a given period of time.

Knowing the difference helps CMC identify a building’s energy needs and allows us to calculate how much energy we’ve saved customers by completing our audit and adding energy efficiency improvements. When reporting back to the utilities, we can calculate exactly how many kWh we’ve saved across all appointments for weeks, months or years at a time.

For Pennsylvania programs, peak demand reductions (kW) were put in place to reduce electricity production during peak periods like June through August, 2–6 p.m. While CMC does not get paid per kW reduction in most programs (like we do the kWh), there are financial penalties for not hitting kW goals, something CMC wants to avoid entirely.

We hope this shines some light on the need for both metrics and why these are so important to CMC’s continued success.



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