How to calculate electrical load factor

Written by l.p. klages
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Calculating the electrical load of your home can tell you how much electricity you should be using and what appliances and circuits are contributing to your monthly bill. Identifying your high-usage appliances can help you trim your electricity bill. The only way to get an exact measurement of electrical load is to read the electricity meter. However, the calculation described below will give you an overview of your electricity usage.

Skill level:
Easy

Instructions

1. 1

Determine the total kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity used on your property for a billing period. For example, your utility bill may show kWh as 900.

2. 2

Determine your peak demand (kW). For example, your utility bill may show kW as 5kW.

3. 3

Determine your average electricity usage by dividing your total kWh from Step 1, by the number of days in your billing cycle times 24 hours. So if your kWh is 900 and there are 30 days in the month, then 30 x 24 = 720 and 900 / 720 = 1.25.

4. 4

Calculate the load factor by dividing your answer from Step 3 by the peak demand from Step 2: 1.25 / 5 = .25 or 25 per cent. The optimum load factor is 1.0, or 100 per cent. The closer you get to the optimum load factor, the cheaper your electricity will be. A load factor close to 0 per cent means that you are paying the maximum amount possible for your electricity. In this example, 25 per cent is low. Ideally, the load factor should be a lot higher.

Tips and warnings

• Many companies charge by the number of kilowatt hours used and the peak demand. If your load factor is low, that means you're spending too much for electricity. You should find ways to run your demanding appliances during off-peak times. That will lower your peak demand and your bill.

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