You’ve Got the Power: Why Your Equipment Needs a Power Quality and Harmonic Analysis

By North Central Electric,

  Filed under: Electrical
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Whether you oversee a nuclear plant facility, manage a hospital or operate an aviation center, your electrical system relies on the quality of power supplied to, and consumed by, the system. When poor power quality is present, it can cause an electrical system to overheat, improperly function, accelerate its wear and tear, falsely trip circuit breakers and create dangerous working conditions. In order to prevent those things from happening, you need to schedule a Power Quality and Harmonic Analysis. The engineering experts at North Central Electrical have broken down what those are and why your equipment needs them, so your electrical system can operate efficiently and safely.

Power Demand—What It Is and Why We Measure It

Power demand is the average amount of electrical energy that devices, machines, buildings, etc. consume over a period of time. By using a Power Quality Analyzer—which is an electronic instrument—the indicators of power quality can be measured and its average electrical energy will be displayed in kilowatts (kW). When you know what your equipment’s power quality is, you will have the knowledge to determine if your equipment is being supplied with enough energy to meet your peak periods of demand.

Power Consumption vs. Power Demand

Power consumption—like power demand—is the total amount of electrical energy used over a period of time. However, consumption displays its sum of electrical energy usage over the SAME period of time; in contrast, demand displays an immediate view of electrical energy usage. With that being said, a Power Quality Analyzer measures both—demand in kilowatts and consumption in watthours (Wh) or kilowatthours (kWh).

When the power consumption is determined, the Power Factor—a ratio of the power used by a system to the power delivered by a utility—can be calculated. This calculation is used to put a dollar-value on the work an electrical system is performing; it also helps engineers avoid charging excess power. Because a Power Quality Analysis calculates the Reactive Compensation of equipment, it’s much easier to figure out the amount of capacitive value needed to correct a low Power Factor.

The Importance of Harmonics and Their Measurement

In short, harmonics occur from non-linear loads that create an erratic increase and decrease on an electrical system’s voltage and current. By using a Power Quality Analyzer, a Harmonic Analysis will detect the essential harmonics that make up an arbitrary current wave. Measurements from this analysis, such as Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), will reveal harmonic current contribution to essential current required.

If you want to make sure your facility’s equipment has the energy it needs to operate effectively, you need the electrical engineering experts at NCE! Contact us today to schedule your Power Quality and Harmonic Analysis.