At Kirby Electric, we aim to educate others on proper electrical techniques and plans. Correct use of language makes a difference when discussing electrical construction and services. Electricity, energy, and power have become interchangeable in common, every day speech. However, these three terms have very distinct definitions and should not be used interchangeably. Read on to explore the differences between electricity, energy, and power and how to properly define them.


Most define electricity as a form of energy or the flow of energy. Both of these definitions would be incorrect to assume. Electricity has to do with the charge of atoms. Atoms are the basic building blocks of everything, including you and the device you are reading this blog on. Breaking it down even further, atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Electrons move between atoms based on their electrical charge and magnetic forces. As these electrons move quickly, electricity is created.

Electricity can also be thought as being in two different categories, static and current. You can see static electricity when you pull laundry out of the dryer or when you rub a balloon through your hair. Current electricity is what flows through the lines and cables to your electric devices. Electricity, however, is not to be confused with electrical energy, or stored energy.


Energy gives things the ability to move and work. The definition of energy is the “capacity to do work.” In other words, energy is the total amount of work that is done. Work is defined as exerting a force over a distance. When you push something around, whether that be a box or a sofa, that is work. Energy makes it possible for you to do this work.

Energy is calculated by the strength of the force needed to move something over a distance. While there are many different types of units to measure energy with, the most common is watt-hour.


While energy is about the total amount of work, power is how fast you are able to accomplish that work. This means power is how fast something can produce or consume energy. Say you are planning a cross country road trip. You have two means of transportation, a sports car or a racehorse. Assuming all other factors are equal, both can accomplish the means to cross the country. However, the sports car will be able to finish this task much quicker than the horse. Therefore, this means that the car can transfer the energy much quicker than the horse. The sports car has the higher power level and, thus, can travel faster.

Putting It All Together

While electricity, energy, and power all seem the same on the surface level, they are, in fact, very different. It is helpful to know their differences as you further your electrical knowledge. At Kirby Electric, we take pride in our electrical knowledge, and we are ready to assist you. We provide excellent electrical services for commercial and industrial contracting. Consider contacting us today to discuss electrical plans for you.

About Kirby Electric

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial contracting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.