Power factor

What is Power factor?

Power factor is the ratio between the amount of power that flows through the lines (measured in kVA) and the actual amount of energy delivered (measured in kW). Or in other words power factor is a measure of how effectively electricity is being used.  The ideal, or maximum power factor, is 100% (normally stated as 1.0). Poor power factor causes the network owner to have to build larger lines to maintain the required supply levels.

The most common equipment for which power factor is a concern is electric motors. For instance a motor may operate with a power factor as low as 0.75 (75%), therefore it is only using 75% of the incoming electricity. This means there is greater demand placed on the electricity network, because the lines have to deliver the full 100%, or 33% more electricity than is really needed to get the job done.

It makes sense to try to increase the power factor at an installation, so that the electricity network can be constructed to the smallest size that will satisfactorily deliver the power required by the customers. Thus the costs of running the network are kept to the minimum, which will be reflected in the cheapest costs for the customers.

PowerNet does not charge individual customers for poor power factor, however we are presently investigating methods of applying such penalty charges.

Poor power factor can be rectified, please ask your electrician for more information.