Understanding Power Quality

By Amos Kiprop

Equipment life, low power bills, facility safety are key concerns of entities that use electric power. Most of these concerns are addressed to a sufficient level when facilities ensure that they use quality power.After understanding different types of electric loads that one has, it is also important to understand the quality of power being supplied by the utility companies which we use to power these loads. Many companies and even residential facilities complain of high maintenance cost they incur due to damaged electrical equipment.

Power quality is simply the interaction of electrical power with electrical equipment.PQ 1

If electrical equipment operates correctly and reliably without being damaged   or stressed, we would say that the electrical power is of good quality. On the other hand, if the electrical equipment malfunctions, is unreliable, or is damaged during normal usage, we would suspect that the power quality is poor.

Apart from high utility bills incurred, high voltages also tend to increase the heat generation in motors, lighting bulbs and other electrical machines generally reducing the life expectancy of electrical equipment.

Another major concern is excess neutral currents.

High Neutral currents in buildings usually result from two situations; the first, and most common is one where there are simply heavily unbalanced loads. Second situation involves current harmonic distortion.

High neutral currents from unbalanced loads are fairly easy to resolve. Loads need to be powered from appropriate phase to ensure balancing, so relocate or rewire particular loads to bring balance about.

Also, Neutral Current Eliminator can be used in cases where the Neutral Current is higher than any of the phase currents. This is mostly applicable in PQ 3cases where there is 3rd harmonic currents in the line introduced by non-linear loads. NCE brings the available Neutral current to Zero.

It is therefore important that every facility ensures that they use high quality power.This can be achieved even by external service providers that walk you through the process of achieving quality power.Eenovators Limited offers a range of solutions in power quality management all in the interest of saving energy, reducing power costs and safeguarding the life and efficiency of electrical equipment.

 

The writer is an Energy Engineer at Eenovators Limited.

 

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