Electricity Terms

Confused by Electricity Terms ?

The jargon used on electrical appliances can often be confusing.  Below are the most common electrical terms.   Please call us on 07 3378 5525 if you need further explanation.

  • Watt (W): a unit of electrical power 1kW = 1000 watts
  • Watt hour (Wh): a unit of energy (power and the time during which that power is generated or consumed)
  • Kilowatt hour (kWh): often referred to as a ‘unit’ of power. Electricity meters are marked to be read in units of 1kWh = 1000 watts operating for 1 hour
  • Volt (V):  a measure of the amount of pressure required to make electrical energy flow in a circuit
  • Amp (A) or ampere:  a unit of electrical current. The amount of electricity which is flowing in the conductor
  • Hertz (HZ): speed of electricity current measured in cycles. E.g. 50 or 60 HZ per second.
  • Horsepower (HP): a unit of mechanical energy 1 HP = 746 watts (not applicable for refrigerative air conditioning units)

Units of Measurement

  • watts ÷ volts = amps (eg – 1680 watts ÷ 240 volts = 7 amps)
  • watts = amps x volts (eg 7 amps x 240 volts = 1680 watts)
  • 1500 watts = 6.25 amps
  • 2000 watts = 8.33 amps
  • 2400 watts = 10 amps

General Terms

  • Tariff: a unit of cost associated with the supply of energy
  • MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standards): MEPS programs are made mandatory in Australia by state government legislation and regulations which give force to the relevant Australian Standards. It is mandatory for the following products manufactured in or imported into Australia to meet the MEPS levels specified by the relevant Australian Standards:
    • refrigerators and freezers (residential and commercial)
    • mains pressure electric storage water heaters
    • small mains pressure electric storage water heaters (<80L), low pressure and heat exchange types
    • three phase electric motors
    • single phase and three phase air conditioners
    • ballasts for linear fluorescent lamps
    • linear fluorescent lamps
    • distribution transformers

Energy Rating Stars

Appliances that are energy smart will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and save you money on your power bills.  The more stars, the more efficient the product.

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Energy rating labels make it easy to compare the energy efficiency of different brands and models when buying new appliances. More stars mean an appliance is more efficient and the less the appliance will cost to run. Energy Ratings are mandatory for many appliances, including fridges, air conditioners and hot water systems.

Energy Ratings is a scheme for measuring performance, jointly run by Federal, State and Territory government agencies. The stars are awarded after each appliance has been put through set tests defined under Australian Standards. Appliances need to meet minimum criteria before they can be granted an Energy Rating label, usually 1 to 6 stars.

Reading your electricity meter

Understanding how much energy you’re using can help you reduce your household greenhouse gas emissions.

If your meter only shows numbers, the black and white numbers show your reading (ignore any red numbers – these are used for testing).

If your meter shows several clock faces:

  • Use the four far-left clock faces only.
  • Stand directly in front of the meter and record the number the ‘clock hand’ is pointing to.
  • If the hand is between two numbers, use the lower number – if it is between 0 and 9, use 9 as the reading.
  • Write down the numbers from left to right.  This is your meter’s current reading.

Electricity meter readings

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Just like your energy provider does, you can then calculate how much electricity you use in any set period.

  • Read your meter at the start of the period and record the number.
  • Do the same at the end of the period you want to check.
  • The difference between the second and first numbers will tell you how much electricity you have used between the two readings.