Over the last 15 years or so, power quality has become an increasing problem in North American society. This is due to the rising trend of solid state electronic devices being implemented into industrial and commercial settings. The concept is rather simple, yet it gets very little consideration when looking at the implications. Power quality is affecting each facet of business from accounting to production to the executive level and yet plays a small role in most energy management programs.
Power quality is affected mostly by three key areas: harmonics, transients and grounding. The symptoms range from the nuisance of tripping breakers to complete failure of equipment and even safety hazards.
Considering this, it's a wonder why modern business is not deeply concerned with the quality of their power. The saddest part is that the problem is becoming increasingly worse. Many companies today highly heavily on the operation of electronic equipment from computers to C & C machinery and variable speed drives. As we increase the number of these electronic devices and as their ability to process information improvements, power quality plays an ever more critical role in our energy consumption and personal safety.
In a time with all the talk of sustainable energy and energy conservation, it's surprising that this concept has drawn so little attention. Although IEEE has set standards for power quality, many facilities fail to meet these requirements. Perhaps we can begin to resolve these problems by enforcing these guidelines or maybe it's as simple as education and understanding.