Intelligent Energy Management Solutions
Poor power factor... a silent killer like high blood pressure.
You know what electricity is costing you—or do you?
- Your electrical energy bills tell you the electrical energy charges you receive from you power company.
- But then there’s another charge you pick up internally that you are probably not aware of. That’s the cost of additional electrical maintenance charges, equipment replacement charges and cost of power interruptions. Poor electrical power quality is responsible for these additional costs.
- Poor power quality is like high blood pressure—a silent killer. One causes your electrical assets to be overburdened, supply interruptions, and to shorter equipment lifespans. The other causes your heart and vascular system to be overstressed, heart failure and stroke, and a shorter lifespan.
- Unless you visit you doctor for regular check-ups, you wouldn’t be aware of incipient problems awaiting you. It is exactly the same situation with ignorance of power quality for your electrical installation.
- We can work with you to cost-effectively maximise power quality so that for one the useful lifespan of your equipment of your electrical equipment by far exceeds its write down period. Curious??
- Contact us now—or read on to get more details.
Electrical Power Quality—worth checking
- Electrical power quality is continuing to deteriorate—and it’s a silent killer of electrical equipment like high blood pressure in humans shortens life, brings on strokes and heart failure.
- There are two aspects to power quality—the supply side and customer side.
- Irrespective of which of those two aspects is dominant, the result for the customer is increased electrical maintenance charges and shortened equipment lifetime.
- Bad power quality causes frequent replacements of lamp ballasts, frequent motor replacements, overheating in switchboards and replacements of switchgear. These costs should be isolated so that relating their lowering can be related to power quality improvement measures.
- Worse still can be unexpected interruption to production runs causing serious financial loss.
- Fixing bad power quality doesn’t have to be expensive—often the problem is that the cost of resultant additional maintenance is a buried charge so that weighing a capital expenditure for power quality improvement against maintenance savings is not immediately clear.
What is power quality?
- Look at the pictures. The blue line is a very high power quality supply.
- The yellow line is an example of poor power quality.
- The nice curvy sine wave causes no problems to equipment.
- The jagged yellow wave causes problems (overheating of connected equipment, malfunctioning of control equipment, nuisance tripping of circuit breakers—and the list goes on).
- Poor power quality is NOT a beat-up by instrumentation companies, like us at Power Parameters, to sell instruments for power quality analysis (PQA).
- PQA instrumentation is very necessary—without it there is no way of tackling electrical maintenance cost reductions.
Not convinced?—then take note of the reasons for power quality problems!
So let’s examine why power quality is slipping. First we’ll look what’s happening at the customer end.
- On the connected equipment side it is the current (the amps) that instead of flowing smoothly like the blue line good power quality picture, is like very jagged yellow line. Just about everything that is connected these days has this unhelpful feature—it’s the result of power electronics being built into everything.
- This jagged current interferes with other connected equipment—sometimes amplifying the undesired effects, for example frequent replacements of lighting ballasts because of a compounding current effects from other ballasts.
- Motors have their lifetime severely shortened.
- Switchboards and cables run hot.
Second, we look at the supply side.
- First of all a fact of life. The Australian distribution networks (not all, but many) have become independent commercial beings. Just like your concern for profits not being eroded, theirs are similar. Therefore CAPEX to improve power quality is restricted to unavoidable regulatory requirements only—there’s no advantage in improving power quality beyond those enforced requirements as any additional CAPEX is not allowed to be reflected in tariff increases by the Australian Energy Regulator.
- Despite having to maintain minimum standards in many rural areas these standards are basically impossible to guarantee and there are also often problems in metropolitan areas.
- In built-up areas, your power quality frequently depends on who your neighbours are.
- The distribution networks are increasingly subject ‘distributed generation’, i.e local generators for hospitals, wind farms and solar farms. Wind and solar import significant deterioration of power quality UNLESS major investments are made at sub-station levels by the distributors.
The customer-caused problems plus the supply side ‘imported’ problems must be analysed.
- Power Quality Analysis (PQA) is the start for the subsequent reduction in maintenance expense and in general improving the reliability and longevity of your electrical assets.
- It is the work of our experienced technicians but it need not cost the proverbial ‘arm and a leg’. It is in fact a really smart thing to subject your installation to. It is a bit like your annual health check-up.
- The benefit of the PQA is the identification of problem areas in both your installation and also on the incoming electrical supply.
- On the termination of the PQA you receive a health report—and more importantly, a list of recommendations.
- It is finally your choice what you might want to do about the recommendations as many of these will have associated expenses.
- If and when you want to start actioning the recommendations, our technical team can scope the equipment required for the job—and provided that you have a handle on the electrical maintenance costs by isolating these from other maintenance charges, we are able to provide ROI’s for the proposed capital expenditure items.