Why is Power Quality Important?

By | January 23, 2017

Having a good supply of power is critical in any business or home and this becomes even more important in business terms when machinery is in use. A good power supply helps to ensure safety and efficiency and protects both people and their assets. Unfortunately, many companies and individuals put up with low-quality power and carry the inherent risks.

power quality

What is electrical power quality?

Having low-quality power can lead to many problems. Basically, a high-quality power supply is the quality of your electrical connection. Furthermore, electrical signals are made up of a sinusoidal wave (which travels up and down). The power in each wave is equivalent to the energy delivered every second. Therefore, power is measured as by combining both the height and size of each wave, including their peaks and troughs. Also important is the wave’s travelling speed. A sign of a high-quality wave is its purity. Electrical currents can pick up noise (signal abnormalities) and these cause information and power delivered to be distorted. Also, on occasions, peaks and troughs in waves can be too high or too low, which is usually caused by surges from outside disturbances on the grid. To summarise the concept of electrical power quality, it’s contained in both the stability and purity of an electrical wave.

The importance of electrical power quality

Essentially, it’s important to have electrical power quality because having a pure and stable power source helps tools, appliances, and machinery to operate more safely and reliably. The majority of tools, appliances, and machinery are built to function using very precise electrical power ranges. An inferior quality of power could lead to the supply falling outside the optimal operational range. Consequently, this can be hazardous as it can cause machinery to malfunction. Additionally, machinery could be unsafe to use or fail to work in the manner intended. It’s also highly likely that you’ll need to spend additional time and money carrying out repairs to equipment or replacing parts earlier than anticipated. These consequences have financial implications which can quickly spiral out of control. So, not only is poor power quality a safety risk but it also impacts on your budget, not to mention the inconvenience of machinery being out of action if broken due to a power surge.

Low quality power can lead to higher energy bills

Not many people realise that having low-quality power can often lead to energy bills being higher. When suppliers set their energy tariffs, they don’t anticipate electrical power quality as something they need to consider. However, the customer can be liable for paying for reactive power consumption costs. Reactive power is the ‘unproductive’ power that isn’t used by equipment to deliver an output. Some suppliers are starting to charge for this and it can be quite expensive.

Risks to data from low quality power

Another factor to take into account is that when it comes to IT, poor power quality can cause data losses from hard drives and even servers. Power irregularities can lead to computers malfunctioning, shutting down without warning or incurring damage. For some companies and individuals, data losses have dire consequences and are to be avoided wherever possible. So, it’s necessary to take steps to improve the quality of your power supply to reduce these risks.

A good way to ensure good electrical power quality

One of the best ways to maintain good electrical power quality is to get your connection fitted with an active dynamic filter. This device evens out imbalances in the power you receive to guarantee consistency, greater purity, and stability. A signal can lose quality due to different reasons, e.g. harmonic interference or variations in voltages. Active dynamic filters take all of these potential causes into account and are designed to combat them by turning waves back to their pure, original, and intended form. It’s relatively easy to fit filters when you commission an energy professional. Although there’s a charge for this, the reduced risks of damage to systems and lower energy cost more than makeup for upfront expenses.

There are considerable benefits in using an active dynamic filter. You also benefit from the peace of mind knowing that you’re keeping costs under control and protecting your equipment and data. Ultimately, risks are massively reduced because high-quality power provides stability and safer operating conditions. The benefits of having high-quality power really shouldn’t be ignored, especially when high-quality power is within virtually everyone’s reach.

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