Frequently Asked Questions
Q.How much electricity does a typical nuclear power plant generate?
A.In 2007, the “average” nuclear power plant generated about 12.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). There were 65 nuclear power plants with 104 operating nuclear reactors that generated a total of 806.49 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or about 19% of the nation’s electricity.
Thirty-six of those plants had two or more reactors. The smallest nuclear plant has a single reactor with 476 MW of generation capacity and the largest has three reactors with a total of 3,825 MW of capacity.
The average plant capacity factor was 91.8 percent.
Q.How much electricity does a typical American home use?
A.In 2008, the average monthly residential electricity consumption for a Riviera Utilities customer averages 1300 kilowatthours (kWh) per month.
Q.How is electricity consumed in U.S. homes?
A.Appliances account for 64.7% of electricity consumption in the average American household (2001). Refrigerators consumed the most electricity (14%), followed by lighting (9%).
Q.How many coal-fired power plants are there in the U.S.?
A.In 2006, there were 616 facilities with 1,493 individual generators1 that used coal as the predominant fuel2 source for generating electricity.
-503 are "power plants" owned by electric utilities and independent power producers that generate and sell electricity as their primary business.
-The other 113 are at industrial, commercial, government, and institutional sites that use most or all of the electricity generated on-site.
Q.How much can I expect to pay for heating this winter?
A.U.S. households are projected to spend an average of $1,152 per household, for heating this winter, an increase of about 17% over last winter.
The forecast (as of September 9, 2008) for average winter heating expenditures and the percent change over last winter, for households heating with:
Natural gas – $1,017 per household, 19% increase
Heating oil – $2,524 per household, 30% increase
Propane – $1,890 per household, 13% increase
Electricity – $944 per household, 10% increase
Q.Which is safer, Alternating Current (AC), or Direct Current (DC)?
A.Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) have slightly different effects on the human body, but both are dangerous above a certain voltage. The risk of injury changes according to the frequency of the AC, and it is common for DC to have an AC component (called ripple). Someone with special equipment can measure this, but the effect on a particular person is very difficult to predict as it depends upon a large number of factors. As a consequence you should always avoid contact with high voltage electrical conductors, regardless of the type of electrical current they are carrying.
Q.How do I know if someone is competent to do electrical work?
A.A person can demonstrate competence to perform electrical work if he or she has successfully completed an assessed training course that has included the type of work being considered, run by an accredited training organization, and has been able to demonstrate an ability to understand electrical theory and put this into practice.
A successfully completed electrical apprenticeship, with some post apprenticeship experience is a good way of demonstrating competence for general electrical work. More specialized work such as maintenance of high voltage switchgear or control system modification is almost certainly likely to require additional training and experience.
For household electrical work, a person should consider using a licensed contractor to complete a job or project.