The Cost of Poor Power Quality

Power quality is important when market liberalization focuses on electricity price and regulators are focused only on energy efficiency. Lack of power quality may cause damage and the total cost of using electrical energy can be thus doubled.

Interruptions are costly to the whole society while some industrial sectors like continuous manufacturing or IT are particularly sensitive to voltage dips. Regardless of whether the origin is a short or long interruption, a voltage dip, a transient or other voltage disturbance, the consequence is an outage. Interruption duration is important but much more so is the frequency of PQ problems and the serious impact they may have on industrial productivity.

PQ costs may, in extreme cases, reach values of millions of dollars, as was reported by EPRI for brokerage operations. Although the costs are lower in most cases, they are still significant and are characterized by very large variations between apparently similar cases. The decisive factors are the equipment immunity and level of supply disturbance.

PQ costs should be investigated and understood; the quantification is needed for many reasons such as contract negotiation, building the case for investment to improve PQ and building the awareness of all important market actors, including regulators.

The Highlights from this publication:

  • In sensitive sectors, the magnitude of PQ costs may greatly affect the productivity of the company
  • According to a global LPQI survey, the amount spent on PQ solutions is only 10% of the cost of the remaining, unmitigated PQ issues
  • No two companies, even when operating in the same sector, will be equally vulnerable to PQ disturbances; individual checks are therefore needed


The Cost of Poor Power Quality - Application Note

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