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Electric power is the ability to do work and is measured in units called watts. Anything powered by electricity has a watt rating. For example, a light bulb can be anywhere from one to several hundred watts or more, with the rating printed on the bulb. Appliances, televisions, computers, engines, elevators and industrial equipment all have their power consumption expressed in watts. For larger amounts, the terms kilowatt (kilo = 1000), megawatt (mega = 1 million) or even larger units may be used. Like many scientific terms, the word “watt” comes from a real person. James Watt was an 18th century engineer from Scotland who invented the first practical steam engine, which in turn led to the Industrial Revolution.
A similar term, horsepower, is still used for engines and other applications. For electric engines, one horsepower equals 746 watts. In physics, power measured in watts equals voltage multiplied by current pushed through a wire. This is conveniently illustrated by using a waterfall analogy. Voltage, or electrical potential, is similar to the height of a waterfall. Current, or electrical volume, is similar to the amount of water passing over the falls. Multiplying them together to measure power is similar to the total power of the water crashing to the bottom of the falls.
Electricity is usually billed to the customer in kilowatt-hours, or the power of 1000 watts used for one hour. A 40-watt light bulb burning for 25 hours uses one kilowatt-hour, as does a 500-watt appliance used for two hours. Meters from Texas electricity companies measure the current passing into the customer’s property every moment, translate this reading into the correct units and record the proper amount for billing. Peak use times for electricity are usually in the mornings and evenings, with lower usage rates during mid-day periods and late at night. For this reason, some utilities use state-of-the-art meters and bill customers lower rates for off-peak hours to encourage more efficient use of generating capacity.
Texas utilities have a big job. They figure the number of homes and businesses they need to serve, plan for future growth, add up all those watts, then build power plants and maintain wires to bring the needed power to every building on their list. Users simply hit the switch and enjoy the results. Electricity Companies in Irving can have some good offers.