There are many technical definitions of Power Quality. However a plain English definition of Power Quality is: The attributes of electricity supply that when correct, ensures optimum and efficient operation of all electrical and electronic equipment.
The consequences of poor power quality (or dirty power) for electrical and electronic equipment often includes the following:
- Equipment tripping out (shutting down) unexpectedly, causing production delays and rework.
- Equipment failing prematurely or just not lasting as long as it should, increasing costs to the business.
- Equipment running hotter than it should and therefore wasting energy, and likewise increasing business costs.
Some of the consequences of poor power quality, such as equipment tripping out when it shouldn’t, can be very obvious and draw the business owners’ attention to the issue. However, sometimes the consequences of poor power quality can go by undetected for years; but all the while increasing business costs by reducing life of plant or causing efficiency of machinery to be low.
In seeking help with power quality issues please be mindful that many businesses who undertake power quality audits and surveys also manufacture or sell power conditioning equipment. This is a natural link but introduces the strong possibility of vested interest and subjective analysis – as their end game is to sell you such equipment. As Barry Kennedy says in his classic book Power Quality Primer, “Electrical vendors and contractors provide useful information on the installation of equipment but should not perform the power quality survey. The power quality consultant needs to perform the survey in an objective and unbiased manner and not try to sell unnecessary products….”
At Power Quality Investigations we provide a professional, unbiased and objective service and are not trying to sell any power conditioning equipment. In addition, if the power quality investigation reveals that you may benefit form conditioning equipment to improve your power quality then we can provide an independent service to help you get competitive quotes from several of the quality suppliers in the market, thereby ensuring you get the best value for money and that you are not sold something that you don’t need. We are however keen to empower electricity consumers to understand the basics of power quality and to be able to measure these parameters themselves. For this purpose we do recommend a very user friendly power quality meter - the PQube. This meter needs no particular software. It is so easy to use, simply remove the SD card from the meter and view the graphs in your browser or any picture viewing software. If detailed analysis is needed the source data, also on the SD card, can be viewed using any spreadsheet software.
If you have issues with your power quality, or simply require a power quality audit for peace of mind, then the professional staff at Power Quality Investigations can help you. If you are interested in long term monitoring of your power quality then please contact us to find our more about installing your own PQube Meter.