Power factor is simply a name given to the ratio of "actual" power (active power) being used in a circuit, expressed in watts or more commonly kilowatts (kW), to the power which is "apparently" being drawn from the mains, expressed in volt-ampere or more commonly kilo volt-ampere (kVA).
Consumers are now billed and penalised for their inefficient systems. In future, consumers will be penalised for plants with power factor below a pre-determined value therefore it is important to ensure your Power Factor is correct.
Disadvantages of low Power Factor:
- Increased authorities cost since more cur rent has to be transmitted
- Causes overloaded generators, transformers and distribution lines, resulting in waste, inefficiency and needless wear and tear on industrial electrical equipment.
- Reduces load handling capability of the plants electrical system.
Improved Power Factor results in:
- Reduced kVA charges
- Improved plant efficiency
- Additional loads can be added to the system
- Reduced overloading of cables, transformers, switchgear, etc.
- Improved starting torque of motors
- Reduce fuel requirements to generate power due to lower losses
- Energy and cost savings