ELECTRIC UTILITY COMPANY – Power Sags, Surges and Outages

The Electric Utility Company Doesn’t Help When I Call. They Then Say Power is Fine.

utility power technicians

The Electric Utility Company measures its voltage and quality of power at the distribution point. It does not follow downstream to transformer distribution, or to the distribution points local to the customer. Most customers that call the Electric Utility Company that are experiencing events do not get any specific helpful information because all the events are happening past the Utility distribution point. The Utility Power Industry is also federally regulated. Therefore they are unable to provide any solution referrals to the problem. Their information only shows good power being made at the distribution point which frustrates the customer as it is impossible for them to help. Almost all of these customer instances can be corrected locally with a Voltage Correction Device or Industrial UPS and should not rely on the transmission distribution to get better. 

If Utility Company isn’t Causing Power Sags, Surges, and Outages What is?

Multiple plants in one area drawing loads at different times tax the utility system. High capacity days of high heat tax the transmission lines tax the power distribution to cause rolling brownouts or sags. A Squirrel in a transformer located miles away will affect the entire local transmission area. Weather and mother nature disruptions for certain will cause facility power issues every year. Facility equipment cycling on and off will pull on various phases. It is never constant and is always changing voltage and current levels unless you install a Voltage Correction Device. Most sags or surges you will not see with your naked eye. If it gets to the point you see lights flickering, that is a 100% outage and not a sag. Therefore you feel as if power is ok, in reality, equipment is being damaged and worn. Best way to find out is a meter and power study (See Power Studies Link). 

Can my Facility cause Power Sags, Surges, and Outages?

Yes. Your fluctuating loads internal to your facility and downstream from the transformer can pull on different legs of the power to cause internally derived voltage sags and current surges that damage equipment. A Voltage Correction Device will Steady the voltage and hold current Steady during those events. During a sag in voltage, the amperage current spikes which results in tripped distribution breakers inside the facility (current surge). Should you have random breaker faults or tripped breakers with no utility power outage this is a good indication that it was caused by a drop in voltage and a spike in amperage which tripped the breaker. This can be caused by internal equipment pulling for power. 90% of production stoppages are related to voltage fluctuations, not utility outages

Everyday Power Sags, Surges, and Outages Wear out my Controls Equipment – YES

Every type of voltage fluctuation affects your operating equipment and controls. The voltage and current are never perfect and constant unless you have a correction device installed. Because most facilities don’t, equipment and controls are constantly bombarded with voltage deviations that concurrently cause current variations and damage to equipment. One of the main causes for PLC board and controls systems replacements. Not to mention shut down for maintenance or resetting equipment. A change in voltage always results in a direct opposite effect in Amperage. Each time the voltage sags current (Amps) increase, vice versa each time voltage spikes, amperage decreases. Causing wear and tear on drives, boards and controls equipment. This is easily corrected with an Active Voltage Correction Device or Industrial UPS System. It is a small investment to install correction compared to the long-term capital implications of replacing and maintaining equipment.

power sag and power surge

Across all industries

Airlines, Hospitals, Telecommunications, Automotive, Research and Test Labs, Data Centers. Pharmaceutical, Industrial and Manufacturing Plants are all affected by work interruption due to power events. Textile, Wire, Aerospace, Printing, Press, Robotics, Semiconductor and Water Treatment Facilities all use process and controls equipment adversely affected by variable power.