Access Energy Cooperative has installed a system-wide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. The SCADA system allows your cooperative to monitor voltage and current values by circuit and phase for all 16 substations.
It alarms our Operations Department when voltage levels fall outside the allowable range, when fault currents are detected, and when substation reclosers have locked out. Some of the larger-load substations have electronic reclosers installed that allow us to operate the reclosers from our Operations Center in the case of a service interruption, which can reduce outage time and improve member reliability.
What is Power Factor?
Power Factor (PF) is the ratio between the amount of total energy supplied (measured in Kilo Volt Amperes or KVA) and the amount of energy that does useful work (measured in Kilo Watts or KW). Some resistive equipment (heating elements, incandescent light bulbs, etc.) uses all the energy supplied to produce useful work. Since they are using 100% of the total energy supplied for useful work (producing heat and/or light) they have a 100% power factor. Other types of equipment (motors, HID lighting, etc.) require power to produce magnetic fields (KVAR) which must be established before useful work can be done. This type of equipment has a power factor of less than 100%.
For example: A motor requires current to create the magnetic fields inside the windings that causes a bunch of wire and metal to become a motor. These magnetic fields must be present before the motor can begin to turn and produce any useful work. These magnetic fields must also be maintained while the motor is running.
Since some of the energy (KVA) is used to create these magnetic fields and the rest is used to do useful work (KW), the power factor is less than 100%. For a motor the power factor may be 80%. This means 80% of the total power (KVA) supplied to the motor is producing useful work (KW). The remaining power (KVAR) is used to produce the magnetic fields within the motor.
How Do I Improve My Power Factor?
Access Energy Cooperative Supplies all the power needed for you to produce your products and services. This includes the portion that does useful work (KW) as well as the portion that creates the magnetic fields (KVAR) need by your equipment.
There are two ways to improve your power factor:
- The first is when you purchase equipment. When specifying new equipment you can require the manufacturer to provide power factor correction on the equipment itself. There may be an additional cost for this, but it would provide the best possible power factor correction.
- The second is to add capacitors to your existing equipment. Capacitors provide the power (KVARs) your equipment needs to create the magnetic fields required to run. Since you are supplying this portion of the power the power purchased from Access Energy Cooperative has a higher percentage of useful power (KW) and a higher Power Factor.
For more information, please click here to contact our Engineering Department at 319-385-1557 or toll free at 1-866-242-4232.