We provide the information on power factor, its impacts and methods to manage low power factor condition.
Low power factor conditions have two negative impacts - technical and commercial.
Power factor is the ratio between the real power (kW) and the apparent power (kVA) drawn by an electrical load.
It is a measure of how effectively the electrical current is being converted into useful work output and more particularly is a good indicator of the effect of the load current on the efficiency of the electrical supply system.
The relationship between real power (Watt), reactive power (VAr), apparent power (VA) and power factor is shown in Figure 1. Power factor is also defined as cos Ф. A typical power factor meter is shown in Figure 2.
The Power Factor value range is 1.0 to 1.0. 1.0 means real power without any reactive power. 0.0 means there is no real power consumption, only reactive power. Power Factor can be either in inductive (IND) or capacitive (CAP) conditions.
The lower the Power Factor on a line, the higher the current that flows through it. Below are a few technical disadvantages of that:
Commercially, commercial and industrial customers with low average power factors will be imposed power factor penalties.
For customers taking supply at 33 kV or below, the value of the power factor must be maintained ≥ 0.85. Power factor < 0.85 will result in a power factor penalty being imposed to the customer.
For customers taking supply at 132 kV or above, the value of the power factor must be maintained ≥ 0.90. Power factor < 0.90 will result in a power factor penalty being imposed to the customer.
Generally, low power factor conditions can be resolved by these devices.
Other steps to improve low power factor are:
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