What is Power Quality?
Power Quality is a broad ranging term used to encompass the issues faced by electricity consumers resulting from variations from expected voltage norms in the distribution of electrical power.
Many industrial and commercial customers now require a higher level of power quality due to increasing sensitivity of sophisticated process controls and the growing reliance on computers.
Power Quality Terminology
Sag: A short-term decrease in voltage lasting anywhere from milliseconds up to a few seconds. Sags starve a machine of the electricity it needs to function, causing computer crashes or equipment lock-ups.
Momentary Interruption: A very short loss of utility power that lasts up to 2 seconds, usually caused by the utility switching operations to isolate a nearby electrical problem.
What Causes Power Quality Issues?
Internal causes: Potential culprits may include large equipment start-up or shutdown, improper wiring and grounding, overloaded circuits or harmonics.
External causes: The most common cause lightning strikes; other possibilities include equipment failure, vehicle accidents, weather conditions, animals, & neighboring businesses.
Impact of Power Quality Issues
Lost production: Each time production is interrupted, your business loses the margin on the product that is not manufactured and sold.
Damaged product: Interruptions can damage a partially complete product.
Maintenance: Reacting to a voltage disruption can involve restoring production, diagnosing and correcting the problem
Hidden costs: If the impact of a voltage sag is a control error, a product defect may be discovered after customer delivery.
Beyond nuisance, the financial impact of momentary power interruptions and sags demands actions by any organization committed to controlling costs and manufacturing efficiency. These issues cost companies between $130,000 and $400,000 per year:
Momentary interruptions - $11,027 per event so 12 events per year (about average) total $132,000
Sags - $7,694 per event so 49 events per year (about average) total $377,000