Views taken from the top of the BT Tower Birmingham



A site in the West Midlands purchases their electricity from Midlands Electricity but is connected to the local n-power network.

The site has a Maximum Demand of 661kVA, an Availability Charge of £1.41/kVA, an average charge of 6 pence/kWh, an average monthly Reactive Charge of £42.41 and an existing Power Factor of 0.89 and a Power Factor of 0.83.

With appropriate Power Factor Correction equipment, (target PF of 1, realised 0.97) the site reduced annual operation costs by £3613.00 with a reduction of 25.5 tonnes of CO2.

Cost of equipment and installation corresponded to a payback time of within 18months!

.... a note for Offices and Schools

Power factor correction is not just for industry where there can be heavy machinery and motors.

The situation may also be experienced where there exists the use of ‘switched’ power supplies as in the case of schools and other educational establishments and organisations that are intense users of IT and computer equipment.

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Power Factor Correction

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What is Power Factor?

Power is used most efficiently if the current is aligned with the voltage. Some light bulbs and heaters draw current exactly synchronised to voltage, but most other loads tend to draw current that is delayed (or lagging) with respect to the voltage. It takes more current to deliver a fixed amount of power when the current is lagging or delayed.

The ratio of the actual power transmitted ‘real power’ (kW) to the ’apparent power’ (kVA) that could have been transmitted if the same current were in phase is known as the power factor. The delay or phase shift is caused by a requirement for active power (kW) and reactive power (kvar). Reactive power is required by inductive loads such as motors, transformers and certain power supplies. This reactive power can either be supplied by the electricity supplier, and the user pays a financial penalty, or the reactive power can be minimised by the installation of capacitor systems that, in effect, cause the current to ‘lead’ the voltage - thereby cancelling out the lagging nature of inductive loads. This results in the voltage and current now being in-phase.

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