Understanding Energy Use

Whether you want to increase production costs by saving energy, minimize the impact your business has on the environment or utilize the latest technological innovations for operational excellence, understanding the way your business or industry uses electricity is key.

Kilowatt hours (kWh)

Measurement for “energy” and is the cumulative use of power over a period of time, such as the entire month.

Kilowatt (kW)

Measurement for “demand” and represents the amount of real power used at a given point of time, such as an hour or ½ hour (how much power being used at this time).  It is recorded for larger commercial and industrial customers since the power system must be sized to meet their needs at any time.  JEA records kW demand in ½ hour intervals and bills based on the highest ½ hour interval during the month (peak demand).


Measurement of “apparent power” that is delivered by the utility company to the customer.  A difference between kVA and kW represents the efficiency at which power is used by that customer.

Power Factor

Relationship between kW and kVA and represents the efficiency at which power is used by the customer.  Mathematically, it is presented as a percentage with the closer a number is to 100%, the more efficient the customer uses the apparent power delivered to them.  The difference between kW and kVA represents power that does no useful work. Capacitors are used to reduce the difference between kW and kVA.

Load Factor

Mathematical ratio of the average amount of energy used and the maximum possible energy that could be used during a given period of time.