You may not have heard of Power Factor or the ways it can be corrected but running your electrical equipment at the best power factor ratio can help keep your business costs down and help the environment.

What is power factor?

Power factor is a measure of how effectively you are using electricity. Various types of power are used to provide us with electrical energy. This power is split between something called Working Power and Reactive Power. Working power is used in all electrical appliances to create such things as heat, light and motion. This power is measured as kW or kilowatts. Reactive Power is used by inductive loads, such as motors, to generate and sustain a magnetic field to operate. The working power and reactive power of your equipment makes up your Apparent Power. Hope you are all still with me! Power Factor is the ratio of Working Power to Apparent Power.

All motors which come in the form of a machine, such as conveyors, mixers, compressors, lifts and escalator all have an efficiency rating known as a Power Factor. It is a measure of “efficiency” and has values ranging from 0 to 1, where 1 is 100% efficient. A bad power factor – is less than 0.95, which results in higher electrical current flowing than is necessary. A good power factor is greater than 0.95, so power is used more effectively. A “perfect” Power Factor is 1.

Most motors operate at a much lower efficiency than 1 with some having a Power Factor as low as 0.50. For a typical uncorrected industrial supply, the power factor is around 0.80. This means it is 80% efficient and will consume 20% more power. So, you need more generators and a heavier distribution network, resulting in higher energy bills.

What is power factor correction?

The easiest way to improve Power Factor is to use Power factor correction capacitors in parallel with the connected motor or lighting circuits. These can be applied at the equipment, distribution board or at the origin of the installation. They improve the overall electrical efficiency of your electrical supply, so less electrical current is needed to achieve the same result.

An example of this could be a 1MVA transformer with a 0.75 Power Factor. This can only supply 750KW of load. Increasing this to a power factor of 0.95 can give an extra 200KW of load. It can also reduce the current flow and power loss in cables and transformers. Overall it can reduce the number of KWH units consumed. Using this example, a 200KVA saving in chargeable load saves £300 per month on a typical charge of £1.50 per KVA of maximum demand charge for supply. Power factor correction can also reduce Power Factor charges and climate levy charges.

What are the benefits of power factor correction?

There are numerus advantages to installing power factor correction devices to your electrical supply. They include:
• A reduction in electricity bills
• Increased load carrying capabilities in your existing circuits
• Reduction of I2R losses in transformers and distribution equipment
• overall reduced power system loses
• Extended equipment life
• Reduced electrical burden on cables and electrical components.

Does power factor correction save energy?

The benefits of power factor correction aren’t just financial. there are also important environmental benefits. By being more energy efficient you will reduce your power consumption. This means less greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced carbon footprint.

How can Equiptest help me?

With our reputation for integrity and our high levels of customer care we can help you make your power supply as efficient as possible. Our experienced engineers will assess the demands placed on your supply and identify and correct areas where power has been lost.

We use a wide variety of products, some of which operate automatically, that compensate for varying electrical loads. This situation is common in today’s manufacturing plants and offices and we are ideally placed to help you improve the way you utilise your electricity supply.

Talk to us about power factor correction today! Contact Us