What's your PQ Mindset?

Published On: Feb 18, 2019


Mindset is like a mirror. A lot many things depend on the mindset. Shift the mirror a bit and you will see a different perspective. It is interesting to note how this applies when it comes to the perception of ‘quality’ in everyday life, more so in the case of things that are intangible.

INTRODUCTION

Power Quality is intangible. Not just that, it’s difficult to measure, quantify in absolute terms. The perception of what is good ‘Power Quality’ accompanies a vast range of values in the minds of different stakeholders. This blog, attempts to segment these perceptions as reflections of mindsets. The seven mindsets listed below are a suggestive of the perceptions that are held by people (as individuals or in groups) in their efforts to ensure good PQ. We sincerely hope you are able to relate to the mindsets while shaping views and actions on improving the PQ in your facility.

PQ MINDSETS

The Reactive
It’s an emergency!
PQ issues are very notorious when they strike. Often leading to network or equipment breakdown, PQ challenges have the power to disrupt businesses. The reactive approach to PQ, at best, could be anywhere between highly risky to fatal, escaped only when on the good side of luck. Further, unlike lightening, PQ issues have a tendency to strike back not just twice but multiple times. The loss of reputation to business is often irreversible in such cases. The only way to avoid, if you’ve faced even a single emergency due to PQ issues, is to shed off being reactive and become more proactive.

The Risk taker
We will see when we have problems
Absence of problems in electrical network, especially in newly built facilities, does not necessarily translate to a certificate of good PQ. In fact, PQ issues being intangible, are all the more difficult to predict which makes it even more risky. PQ issues could be breeding under the electrical network, no matter whether the network is newly built or ageing fast. The fact that good PQ, in most cases, does not come with a single or quick fix further enhances the risk. Waiting for the problems (arising out of poor PQ) to surface, could be the worst strategy when it comes to the silent killer that is poor PQ.

The Calculated Risk Taker
We have a budget for problems
Electrical network is interconnected and so is PQ. Fixing the most troubling or visible PQ issue may not always guarantee a comprehensive fix. On the contrary, it may be worthy to look beyond the surface and check for deep rooted issues, if any. Often, it’s the interconnected nature of problems that needs one to go beyond the obvious and scan the connections for their impact on each other. While being proactive and calculated definitely helps to spot PQ issues, but its way safer to be comprehensive, just the way you would treat your own health.

The Confident
Problems? With all these investments?
Electrical networks are living systems and buying the latest and the best solution to improve PQ may not alone guarantee good results. What’s required is understanding the need of the electrical network and investing in the tools and resources that deliver the right results for improving the PQ. For instance, to expect that investing in the best type of harmonic filters will improve PQ may not be true. The facility may have deep rooted problems such as earthing faults, even earthling default at commissioning time itself, that need to be solved first to get to the best PQ by reducing the surge , transient issues or harmonics.

The Innocent
We have done everything right
There are experts and also the standards designed by experts to guide on improving PQ. One may do everything that’s designed and checked for compliance to standards. And yet, sometimes, things don’t work the way they are intended. While the holy grail of standards is always available to follow, reaching there is not an easy journey. Achieving good PQ in practice may take much more than what the theory says. While improving PQ it’s important to bear in mind that good PQ is a result of several factors playing together, simultaneously. And just like in a symphony, the more you practice together, the more right it gets.

The Proactive
We invest in keeping network healthy
Investing in pre audit based assessment of local PQ environment, installing and commissioning right, good quality equipment, conducting routine health audits, periodic monitoring of PQ parameters demonstrate a proactive approach to PQ. The ROI on keeping a healthy network is often underrated. It takes time, efforts and resources to keep everything going seamless. Good PQ is like a smooth highway on which the business can run faster while staying in a good condition. Proactive approach pays, for sure.

The Futuristic
Here are our PQ goals!
While PQ might be ambiguous when it comes to understanding it in absolute terms, it can be highly meaningful when seen in the context of specific goals for the business. Good PQ when put to serve the goals of the business has the power deliver significant differentiation. It might be realised in many forms starting from much lesser life-cycle costs as compared to the competition for high-impact critical assets, higher productivity with reliable power or just a better reputation earned from trouble free uninterrupted power. Specific and a goal-driven thinking in context of PQ is a high returns game.

CONCLUSION

Mitigating the risks arising from Power Quality issues is like buying an insurance for your electrical network. Insurance is bought to deal with events or situations that are risky, if you happen to face them, but also unlikely to occur. Also, Insurance is bought with the hope that one never has to really use it. Investments in mitigating Power Quality issues comes with a similar promise. While being reactive is easy (and free), it also means living under a constant and severe threat to reliability and safety of electrical network due to unidentified of PQ issues. Timely and wise investments will shield the electrical network from the risks mentioned above and thus save you ten stitch in the future due to one stitch in time.

Please note:
The segmentation is only suggestive and developed from informal dialogues with industry experts who have been working in the field of PQ for many years.

REFERENCES

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