Nowadays, the dependency for power in production has increased by a considerable margin. Our lives are now revolving on utilising electrical power to undertake most aspects of our work. Electrical power is now becoming essential and a valuable resource all over the world. However, did you know the role that electrical power quality has on the effectiveness of electricity and its final consumption?
Power quality is very important for the development of any country or society. Therefore, it has to be monitored continuously to avoid pitfalls. The increased use of semiconductor-based electronic equipment and non-linear loads like computers, data servers, adjustable speed drivers and arc furnaces has posed a challenge in having quality electrical power. The usage of these non-linear loads and power electronic equipment can lead to distortion in voltage and current waveforms.
If power supplied to devices or equipment is deficient, it may result in poor performance. Good power quality will boost the equipment performance and prolong their life expectancy.
The electricity frequency, waveform, magnitude and symmetry are important in the transmission, distribution, and utilisation of electrical power. These characteristics may vary due to changes of load, disturbance emanating from electronic equipment and external events. The disturbance may include atmospheric phenomena and environmental conditions.
The equipment installed in premises by an electricity user can initiate disturbances like the harmonic or inter-harmonic distortion, voltage fluctuations into the distribution network.
These power quality issues have much impact on the electricity user, equipment and system manufacturer. Designers of plants and installations, electricity distributors, public authorities and the public will also be affected by the power quality.
Industries are reporting substantial losses due to disturbances in power quality. Variation in voltage and frequency and the waveform distortion are negatively affecting the industries.
Voltage sags and swells that occur due to sudden rejection and application loads can result in malfunctioning of equipment, loss of efficiency of motors, insulation failures, fluctuation of light illumination and even tripping of relays and contractors. Such disturbance and variations can lead to losses and breakages of equipment.
Sometimes the power transmission can be having limited frequency response or sample rate detection may tend to vary this cause spikes, surges, and power pulses. Mostly these disturbances are caused by atmospheric changes like lightning and solar flares. Most power devices do not have the capability to handle such transient. Especially when they are old machines, the impact can be damaging.
If the frequency of the harmonics is not monitored and sustained at a good level, there may be distortion in waveforms. This may cause serious damage to electrical equipment like the overheating of cables and equipment, interference with communication lines and the probability of producing resonant conditions. Harmonic analysers and filters would be necessary for measuring the waveform and managing it.
Power factor affects electrical quality by a great deal. When the power factor is low, there will be problems like the overheating of motors and poor lightening. Users may be penalised to meet the electrical demands. If power factor is not managed well, there will be losses and wastage in the transmission and utilisation of electricity. Alternatively, when the power factor is improved properly, there will be a reduction of electric bills.
To improve safety and protection of equipment grounding would be necessary. Grounding will eliminate severe shock to electricity users. It will protect equipment from fault conditions and other abnormal conditions. Grounding will ensure proper working of electronic components and devices.
Risks and Defects
Therefore, electrical power quality is important in sustaining and running industries, commerce and development. It is important to manage and monitor power quality appropriately. When the quality is good, there will be no risks or defects in electrical installation and components. The end user eventually must absorb all the impact of bad power quality. When it is in good transmission, the consumer will not be at risk of having equipment and devices damaged by electrical surges and pulses. The bills will also be moderate and affordable. Therefore, the quality of electrical power is imperative and should be monitored and sustained in the best possible levels.