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Save money by improving power quality

13 Nov 2012

Reduction in energy consumption has become the Holy Grail of both the engineering world and the wider business environment over the last decade. However, in the process the importance of power quality has been marginalised and few energy users understand that a welcome side effect of power quality improvement is a reduction in your electricity bill.

A power quality issue is generally defined as voltage, current or frequency deviations in the applied mains that have a detrimental effect on the performance or longevity of connected equipment. If the voltage or current is not a pure sine wave then there is a problem. It is easy to blame the power utility companies for quality issues on their network, but more often than not, it is the energy user’s own equipment and that of their neighbours that is the root cause of the problem.

Furthermore, the reasons for selecting power quality components can be a little intangible at times, given that the regulatory drivers lack teeth. However, one recent power quality project I’ve worked on resulted in a 500A reduction in metered current on a 1500A application, representing a cost reduction of one third. So perhaps the financial reasoning is more readily understood? The Holy Grail is clearly within reach, providing we look more holistically at our reasons for investing in power quality in the first instance.

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