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Benefits | Why Monitor | Utility Advantages | End-User Advantages | Applications |

Benefits of a power quality monitoring service:

  • Assist in preventive and predictive maintenance
         - Identify source and frequency of events
         - Establish precise location and timing of events
         - Develop maintenance schedules based on power quality trends
  • Determine the need for mitigation equipment
         - Monitor and trend conditions
         - Analyze harmonics, voltage sag, power factor correction
         - Make decisions based on documented trends
  • Ensure equipment performance
         - UPS and backup systems
         - Power quality mitigation
  • Assess sensitivity of process equipment to disturbances
         - Evaluate performance against specifications
         - Compare current and voltage
  • Benchmark overall system performance
         - Make multi-site comparisons
         - Energy rate comparisons
  • Improve energy rates
         - Identify load versus demand
         - Conduct energy curtailment analysis
         - Evaluate alternative rate structures

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Why Monitor Power Quality?
Power quality monitoring is an essential service many utilities perform for their industrial and key customers. Because of the technology and software now available, this monitoring is a highly-effective means to detect, solve, and even prevent problems on both utility and customer power systems.  Not only can a monitoring system provide information about system disturbances and their possible causes, it can also detect problem conditions throughout the system before they cause customer complaints, equipment malfunctions, and even equipment damage or failure. Power quality problems are not necessarily limited to the utility side of the system - indeed, surveys have shown that the majority of power quality problems are localized within customer facilities. Given this, power quality monitoring is not only an effective customer service strategy, but also a way to protect a utility's reputation for quality power and service. In an industry facing increased competition, this reputation can be the difference between keeping and losing key accounts.

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Advantages for a Utility
The utility company benefits by reducing its risk, maintenance activities, engineering effort, and also realizing new revenue streams while improving competitiveness.

Risk Avoidance

  • New international standards such as EN50160 have defined electricity as a product.
  • In the U.S., U.K, and Brazil, utilities have faced court challenges requesting compensation for poor power quality.
  • Utilities can only properly defend themselves during these challenges when they monitor the quality of the product they provide.
  • Permanently installed monitors at the customer service entrance allow the utility to determine if the fault occurred internal to the facility.
  • Permanently installed monitors at grid supply locations assist the utility in determining if the fault occurred on another utility's system.
Manpower Efficiency

  • The most time consuming effort in power quality investigations usually involves the setting of monitors and the gathering of data.
  • Permanently installed monitors help the utility in avoiding the installation of temporary monitors; and, in some cases, allow the utility to determine the cause of an event without any on-site investigation.
  • Substation monitoring allows the utility to determine the fault duty on breakers and other equipment, allowing the utility to cut maintenance costs by up to 50 percent.
  • Advanced reporting tools such as a PQView database provide automated reporting which minimizes the engineering required to get information from the raw data.
  • World Wide Web technologies enable utilities to share data across their intranets to the rest of the organization or over the internet to their customers without the need for special software or training.
Capital Investment Reductions

  • Monitoring allows the utility to better understand network capacity issues, ultimately allowing it to delay or even postpone system reinforcements until they are absolutely necessary.
  • Monitoring allows the utility to identify power quality focus areas, allowing it to get the most benefit (improved power quality) from the least amount of expenditure.
Utility Competitiveness

  • Monitoring projects enable utilities to offer special power quality contracts.
  • Monitoring at customer sites adds an important service for the customer, differentiating the utility from its competition.

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Advantages for the End-User
The end-use customer benefits by reducing its risk, engineering efforts, while improving process efficiency.

Risk Avoidance

  • End-use customers must monitor all aspects of their production process, including electric power, to control power quality.
  • Electrical maintenance problems such as harmonics or loose connections can be detected by power quality monitors prior to equipment failure.
Manpower Efficiency

  • Internet reporting enables the customer to eliminate any further effort preparing reports on disturbances.
  • When the utility provides the service, the customer does not need to learn how to operate, setup, or install the instrument.  The customer does not need to learn new software.  The customer does not need to debug problems that occur.
Process Improvements

  • Combined with a process monitoring system, the customer can identify the equipment that is most sensitive to voltage variations and take steps to apply power conditioning on a local level.

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Examples of Power Quality Monitoring Applications

  • Using power quality monitoring to develop power quality contracts.
  • Evaluating system performance ~ power quality and reliability reporting.
  • Using power quality monitoring to evaluate equipment performance.
  • Detecting and solving problems with power quality monitoring.

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