Electric power
Overview

Electric power is the rate at which electric energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI
Si
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

unit of power is the watt.

Electric power, like mechanical power, is represented by the letter P in electrical equations. The term wattage is used colloquially to mean "electric power in watts."
In direct current resistive
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

circuits, electrical power is calculated using Joule's law:

where P is the electric power, V the potential difference, and I the electric current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

.

In the case of resistive (Ohmic, or linear) loads, Joule's law can be combined with Ohm's law
Ohm's law
Ohm's law states that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the potential difference across the two points...

(I = V/R) to produce alternative expressions for the dissipated power:

where R is the electrical resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

.
In alternating current
AC power
Power in an electric circuit is the rate of flow of energy past a given point of the circuit. In alternating current circuits, energy storage elements such as inductance and capacitance may result in periodic reversals of the direction of energy flow...

circuits, energy storage elements such as inductance
Inductance
In electromagnetism and electronics, inductance is the ability of an inductor to store energy in a magnetic field. Inductors generate an opposing voltage proportional to the rate of change in current in a circuit...

and capacitance
Capacitance
In electromagnetism and electronics, capacitance is the ability of a capacitor to store energy in an electric field. Capacitance is also a measure of the amount of electric potential energy stored for a given electric potential. A common form of energy storage device is a parallel-plate capacitor...

may result in periodic reversals of the direction of energy flow.