Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Dec 12, 2002
Industry & Economy
`Quality power not burden of utilities alone'
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Dec. 11
THE role of consumers and equipment manufacturers is as important as that of utilities in maintaining an electricity distribution system supplying quality power, according to Mr N.T. Nair, R&D expert in energy management initiatives.
Speaking to Business Line on a recent presentation made before a select gathering of the Indian Institute of Engineers (Kerala), Mr Nair said that the impact of power quality variations in various sectors such as manufacturing, building, banking, etc., has been estimated to be significant as per studies conducted by experts.
For instance, the average cost of downtime in the credit card industry is indicated to be around $2.58 million per hour.
In the case of the hospitals and laboratories, equipment such as CT scanners and computer systems attached to MRI are severely affected by powerline disturbances.
Harmonic distortion leading to excessive neutral current is commonly faced in offices and other buildings with PCs, UPS, discharge lamps and other electronic equipment, many of which produce harmonics beyond the levels specified.
Power quality is defined as a measure of how well electric power supply can be utilised by consumers.
"Electric utilities today are faced with a complex but exciting challenge of preserving a reputation for delivering reliable and high-quality service to the users," Mr Nair said.
"In this IT era, when most human activities have some or other link to an always-on environment with Internet as the backbone, quality of electric power supporting all these systems is a major aspect to be ensured."
He added that power quality audit was now a must, as it helps in working out the economics of solution alternatives.
"Ideally, power should be made available to the user at the standard voltages and frequency and with no interruptions or disturbances whatsoever which may adversely affect the working of the equipment in use."
He added that power quality variations normally encountered are high frequency events such as unidirectional, oscillating and repetitive impulses and common and normal mode events.
Among the voltage events are sags (short-term undervoltages when heavy loads are switched to line), surges (transient wave of current, voltage or power resulting from disconnection of heavy loads from line), outages and interruptions of short duration and long-term outages and neutral-to-ground voltage.
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