Power and the question of quality

Poor power quality is not a new phenomenon, but its effects are being felt more strongly now

Many of us have experienced the consequences of poor power quality. It can be as simple as your dishwasher malfunctioning. Such domestic situations are usually seen as a minor inconvenience, but when they occur in an office or industrial plant, the result can be considerable losses, damages and penalties.

Indeed, a 2015 report by a leading global insurance company states that non-physical damage causes of business interruption could become more relevant in future. It cites perils such as cyber-attacks, political violence, strikes, pandemics, power interruptions and even outages, which could potentially cause large losses for companies without damage to property.

Power interruptions are often considered to be the consequences of random events in the network or inherent faults in the equipment, but are actually a result of poor power quality, the most common causes of which are low power factor, harmonic pollution, load imbalances and fast voltage variations.

Poor power quality is not a new problem; momentary outages have occurred for years, but they were not so easily perceived because electrical equipment – usually based on electro-mechanical technology – was less sensitive to such brief outages in the power system.

However, with the growth of semiconductor-based technology and ever growing numbers of sensitive consumer electronics being connected to the network, poor quality has become more visible. In addition, the increased integration of renewables into the grid poses new challenges when the pollution emitted is too high or in case of under or over voltage.

The quality of electrical power is therefore an important topic now more than ever before – and while poor power quality is an issue that has been accentuated recently, it can be alleviated with the right diagnosis and treatment. Watch this video to find out more about the consequences, causes and ABB’s solutions to poor power quality.

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About the author

Kurt Schipman

As a marketing and sales manager with international responsibility, I have the privilege of working with a variety of teams, in different parts of the world. Together we work towards a common goal: i.e to develop capacitor and filter solutions that benefit our customers by improving their system efficiency and to help foster a greener and more sustainable world.
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