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Energy Quality Episode 2/6

by Sensix Team

This is the very second episode of the blog series we hope it will shed some light on energy efficiency, more specifically, on the efficiency of electrical equipment. So, if you are a maintenance/building/production manager, this one’s for you. If (and only if) you want to lower energy usage and costs, of course.

In the first episode we talked about what Power Quality is, we defined particular Power Quality Indices, and more. Find them out right here. Right now, we’re gonna talk about the effects of b-b-b-b-bad Power Quality in a Power Distribution Grid. Shall we?

What is b-b-b-b-bad Power Quality?

The definition of “bad” Power Quality Indices is based on various national and international standards, such as the IEC 61000-4-30 and IEEE 512. The regulatory framework is constantly updated, in accordance with the most recent scientific progress in the field of Power Quality and sets the limits or recommended values for the Power Quality Indices.

“The term good power quality can be used to describe a power supply that is always available, always within voltage and frequency tolerances, and has a pure noise-free sinusoidal wave shape. Poor power quality describes any supply that deviates from this ideal; whether or not the deviation is important depends on the purpose of the installation, the design of the equipment and the design of the installation.”¹

Oh, the damages!

Bad/poor/low, you name it, Power Quality can have a negative impact on the electrical system, and not just, and, most likely, it will have it.

The effects can range from an annoying flicker effect in the lighting systems, which can lead to a decrease in personnel eye-health and productivity and up to a significant increase in the active and reactive energy losses as a result of an improper phase balancing, the derating of power transformers and the premature aging of insulation, as a result of high Total Current Harmonic Distortion factor and the derating of electrical wiring as a result of a bad Power Factor. Basically, all the effects generated by operating a Power Distribution Grid with bad Power Quality Indices translates into economic and financial losses, which could easily be avoided.

Other possible consequences of low power quality that affect business costs are:

  • Power failures (release switches, fuses blowing);
  • Breakdowns or malfunctions of machines;
  • Overheating of machines (transformers, motors, etc.) leading to reduced useful life;
  • Damage to sensitive equipment (computers, production line control systems, etc.);
  • Electronic communication interference;
  • Increased distribution system losses;
  • The need to oversize systems to cope with additional electric stress, resulting in higher installation and operational costs.²

The good and the bad…news

Basically, all the effects generated by operating a Power Distribution Grid with bad Power Quality Indices translates into economic and financial losses. Interruption of production due to these impacts of low power quality entails high costs due to production loss and the associated waste. For the Industrial sector, the estimated costs due to poor power quality represent 4% of turnover.³

The good news? They could easily be avoided. Aw, the remedies! But about them in another episode. Stay tuned and follow us for more energy stuff.


¹ https://electrical-engineering-portal.com/what-is-poor-power-quality ² https://www.icar.com/en/le-3-cause-principali-di-un-basso-power-quality/ ³ Source: Studio Leonardo Energy. The impact of production interruptions is greatest in companies with continuous production.

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