If you see a demand charge listed on the energy bills for your business, Power Factor Correction (PFC) may be an option for you.
For large businesses, your power factor is an important piece in your commercial energy puzzle, and having a good power factor will reduce excess network demand charges, and stop you from paying more than you have to for your energy.
Power factor describes how effectively your business site, or the equipment within it, uses electricity. Determining your power factor involves three types of power: working power (kW), reactive power (kVAr) and apparent power (kVA). Although power factor can be a complex topic, you don’t need to be an electrical engineer to understand it, and it’s commonly explained using a ‘glass of beer’.
Working power: is the actual power energising your site. Sometimes referred to as true power, actual power, real power or active power, this is the useful power that makes things move, heat, cool and light up. This is the ice-cold beer in your glass.
Reactive power: also known as phantom power or imaginary power, you need it to keep the working power moving, but this is energy that you’re paying for that isn’t actually powering your site or your equipment. Like the froth at the top of your beer, it’s nice to have a little bit, but too much of it and you’re not getting good value for your money. PFC aims to reduce this kind of power.
Apparent power: this is the combination of both working power and reactive power. This can be described as the total amount of power supplied to your site or piece of equipment. This is your beer in full, straight from the tap after you purchase it.
Power factor is the ratio of working power to apparent power. In other words, how much actual, useable power you’re getting from all of the power supplied to your site. If you have a low power factor, you’ll need more energy to be supplied. This means you’re paying more than you need to for your energy, you may incur reactive power penalty fees, you may reduce the life of your equipment and you put more pressure on the grid, potentially causing unstable energy supplies for your local community. A good power factor is a number as close to 1.0 as possible. PFC may include installation or maintenance of specialised equipment at the switchboard or implementing energy-efficiency measures. Choosing the right PFC unit for your business depends on a variety of factors, but our expert team of locals are here to empower you to take charge of your energy. We’ll pair our local knowledge with jargon-free energy advice, so you have peace of mind that your energy is sorted.