Monitoring your power quality is critical to getting an insight into the stability of your electrical network and ensuring that your plant is operating optimally. It is effectively the interplay between the power supply that feeds your electrical devices and those devices’ ability to function properly with that power to avoid damage to equipment and energy wastage. Network instability is a particular issue in certain countries where there has been a sudden upsurge in electrical usage, for example with rising use of computers/mobile phones; and in countries with network infrastructure issues. Taking the steps you can to optimise your power quality by identifying where issues lie gives you the best opportunity to minimise energy losses; reduce operational costs; decrease your carbon footprint; protect the longevity of your equipment; improve productivity and ensure operational efficiency.

Contents

1- Where do I find the new Power Quality Report in my Wattics dashboard?

2- What features does the report contain?

3- Power Quality Report

4- Use cases

1- Where do I find the new Power Quality Report in my Wattics dashboard?

Log in to the dashboard and click on ‘Admin’ in the top left menu, then click on the ‘Reports’’ icon on the top right corner to access the report management page:

Fig. 1

You can now begin putting together the specific information to configure your report (Fig. 2):

  • Report Name: The name of your report

  • Description: A short description with keywords to quickly find your report later on

  • Energy type: Electricity

  • Frequency: This is set to ‘Monthly’ by default

  • Transmission day: Day of the month when the report should be sent

  • Time shift in months: The time shift in months between the transmission month and the data period to be considered. For example, a value of 1 means that the March report will use data from February; 2 means that the March report will use data from January.

  • Sites to be reported: Choose whether the report encompasses all the sites associated with the users’ dashboard, or selected sites only

  • The report will now be created for each site active within the users’ dashboard and sent to them by e-mail every month based on your settings

Fig. 2

You can select the Power Quality Report by clicking here:

Fig. 3

2- What features does the report contain?

This report shows you your Active, Reactive and Apparent Power; Power Factor; RMS (Root-mean-square - or Effective) Voltage; and RMS (Root-mean-square - or Effective) Current for a particular day in a month. One meter point is displayed per page and a one hour average is provided.

3- Power Quality Report

Fig. 4

4- Use cases for the Power Quality Monitoring Report

i) Having an insight into your Active and Apparent Power allows you to understand when peak demand occurs; how this changes from day to day, week to week, or over the course of a month. If power is stable throughout the month before suddenly peaking, you can investigate the reasons behind this. This is particularly useful in industrial, manufacturing and large commercial building settings.

ii) Reactive Power performance is important for stable voltage in an electrical network, as disturbances can have an impact on the performance of electrical equipment, motors etc. Excess Reactive Power can lower the operational efficiency of your plant given the knock-on effect on the Power Factor. This in turn can cause voltage to fall leading to excessive heating with implications for operational costs and a reduction in the longevity of your equipment. A power factor that falls below a stipulated threshold <1 can also carry penalties in some countries in the form of demand charges in your supplier bill. This is a particular issue with motors - or inductive loads. One solution here could be to install a capacitor bank.

iii) Insight into Current allows you to examine the differences between phases with high variability suggesting that equipment may need rebalancing to avoid additional costs and a higher carbon footprint. Load imbalance can also cause stress on other loads connected to the same network leading to an increase in neutral current return and voltage build up ultimately resulting in excessive power loss.

iv) An understanding of these various metrics also gives you an indication of whether you could be looking to solutions such as adding storage capacity - batteries, or a PV installation to your system in order to optimise your energy usage. Power Factor Correction Capacitors may be an option in other instances.

v. Visibility of your current and voltage can help you identify whether your power quality issue does indeed originate from the electrical supplier, or if it was caused by something within your organisation. In the former case, if it was the provider’s voltage that dropped you could expect to see a sudden fall in current; while in the latter case, if you see a rise in current alongside a voltage drop then this is likely to be a problem within your organisation. Armed with this information you can now either target your interventions internally, or present to-the-hour evidence of fluctuations to your supplier. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Power quality goes well beyond such parameters as harmonic distortion, but this is a very good place to start.


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