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How Electrical Power Is Measured

When you buy an electrical appliance or get your electricity bill in Lincoln, CA, you might wonder exactly how the electricity is measured. There are several ways of measuring electrical power, and they can be confusing for a person who isn’t an electrician. Here’s what you need to know about amps, watts, volts, and how the electric company calculates your bill.


Amperes, often shortened to amps, are a unit of measure related to the flow of current per second. Amps are how outlets and electrical wiring are measured. A circuit board may show how many amps move through it per second. Hairdryers are another common household item that show amperage. Amps may be abbreviated with the letter A.


Watts are units of energy transfer from one point to another. One watt is one joule of energy transferred per second. Many common household items have their electrical power consumption measured in watts. Light bulbs and refrigerators may use watts or kilowatts in their descriptions. Your lamp may use a 40-watt light bulb. Watts use the abbreviation W, and kilowatts use kW.


Volts are a measure of electrical potential between two points. They are used as a unit of measure in batteries, electrical transmission lines and lightning strikes. You can measure the remaining voltage of a battery with a multimeter. A common household item is a 9-volt battery. Volts are shown with the unit V.

How Your Electricity Bill Is Calculated

Electricity companies set a rate for each kilowatt-hour of power you use. If your home has a smart meter, the device automatically sends your usage amount to the power company. Your bill is calculated by multiplying how many kilowatt-hours you used by the rate per kilowatt-hour.

Maverick Electric, Heating & Air is Lincoln’s trusted provider of electrical services. You can also turn to us for reliable electric vehicle chargers, generators, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, electrical panels, and more. We offer commercial services, too. To learn more about how electricity is measured or to schedule any of our services, call us at our office in Lincoln today.