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Energy Savings FAQ: Your Guide to Power Factor Correction Equipment

Our FAQ contains everything you need to know about power factor correction equipment, how it works and how it can benefit your African Business

What is Power Factor and Reactive Power Loss?

Reactive Power Loss happens when the current flowing through your electrical system is greater than that needed to operate your electrical equipment. Your machines are unable to use the excess power, so it escapes and gets wasted in the form of heat.

The problem is, it makes no difference whether the energy escapes in the form of heat, or you use it to work your machines. Either way, you have to pay for it.

To calculate Reactive Power Losses we use a measurement known as Power Factor (PF). PF is the ratio between total power purchased and power used for the intended purpose. A Power Factor of 1 (i.e. 100%) means that all electrical power is used to work your machines, there is no reactive loss. A Power Factor of 0.7 would mean your plant runs 70% efficient, with 30% of all purchased electricity being wasted, due to Low Power Factor.

At Optimised Power Products we specialise in correcting Low Power Factor Issues using technology called Power Factor Correction Equipment.

How does Power Factor Correction Equipment work?

Instead of your electricity becoming reactive/being wasted, PFC equipment works by adding electronically controlled capacitors to your electrical system to counteract the reactive power. The equipment monitors the power factor in real-time and adjusts the capacitors accordingly to maintain optimal power factor levels.

The installation of Power Factor Correction Equipment is a straightforward process, being installed to your electrical system at the point of supply.

Power Factor Correction In Action…

The video below shows our equipment in operation on a 3 PHASE electricity supply in Zambia.

Before OPP is switched on, the L3 measurement drops to a low PF 0.73 in places, meaning 27% of the supply is being lost on that phase. When the PFC unit is switched on it begins to correct the supply, taking about 10 seconds to reach PF 0.99/1.00. Meaning 99-100% of the supply is now being utilised, almost zero wastage.

In this particular case, monthly electricity expenses reduced by 18% and Low Power Factor Charges were eliminated from all future bills.

What are the BENEFITS of Power Factor Correction?

1. The savings you will make
  • Save up to 25% on your 3 Phase commercial electricity bills
  • Save at least 10% on your monthly diesel fuel generator expenses
  • Stop Low Power Factor and Reactive Energy Surcharges
  • Continue to control costs and make savings for years to come
2. Increase your capacity/Reduce Energy Consumption
  • Reduce Availability & Capacity Charges on Energy Bills
  • Reduce Maximum Demand based Charges on Energy Bills
3. Reduce damage to your equipment and plant
  • OPP equipment will extend the working life and reduce maintenance of pumps, air-conditioning plants, fridges, chillers and lighting rigs.
  • OPP also reduces damage/wear to power cables, switch-gear and supply transformers.
4. The environmental benefits of power factor correction
  • Reduce your carbon emissions and make your business cleaner and greener.

Who uses Power Factor Correction equipment?

You’ll find our equipment in steel production, tobacco processing, farm facilities, fisheries, abattoirs, dairies, food processing, cold room storage and even flower wholesalers. 

Any African business that has a 3 Phase electricity supply can benefit from OPP Power Factor Correction equipment, AKA Reactive Power Compensation Equipment.

Businesses that can benefit from Power Factor Correction Equipment

How much will I save?

1. NO MORE Low Power Factor Surcharges or Reactive Energy Charges.

2. SAVING up to 25% on all future electricity bills.

3. And if you use diesel generators, you’ll also be making BIG SAVINGS on the ever increasing costs of diesel fuel.

Our Power Factor Correction calculators will estimate the savings for you. 

Savings Calculator – Click Here

Can I buy OPP PFC equipment off the shelf?

Every power factor issue is different.

Our solutions are custom built to meet your individual requirements and solve the Power Factor issues that are specific to your installation.

Contact us to arrange a site survey.

Can OPP also reduce my diesel generator fuel bills?

Yes we can. OPP is the only Power Factor Correction technology available anywhere that works with diesel generators. Our units produce minimum diesel fuel savings of 10%, some of our units have recorded savings of almost 30%.

The video below shows one of our units in operation.

You can see the bottom line measures Power Factor (PF). When the unit is on The PF is 99-100%, 

After 10 seconds the unit is turned off and the PF drops to 78%. Which means, if this company didn’t have OPP equipment that generator would increase its fuel consumption by 22%.

Calculate 22% off your own monthly diesel fuel bill – that’s the type of savings you’ll make with OPP.

Can OPP eliminate Low Power Factor Surcharges?

Yes we can. OPP targets PF 0.995 or better (as opposed to industry standard of 0.95), removing Low Power Factor Surcharges from all future electricity bills.

OPP Product and Technical Specification

Compliance with Standards: BSEN60831 (IEC831 & IEC70/70), BSEN60439, BSEN60204

Supply: 400v – 415v 3 phase 50Hz (other voltages available on request)

Operating temp: -25 C to 65 C group D (others available on request)

Ventilation: High quality force ventilated via fan & louvre with over-temp alarm

Capacitors: Vishay High Specification 150,000h Reinforced Dielectric (440V)

Installation: 4 wire (3 phase & neutral)

IP Rating: IP 42 min (other IP rating available on request)

Losses: 0.2 watts / kVar

Discharge: less than 50V one minute after switch off

CT: Split core mutli-ratio 200/400/600/800/1000-5A

Cable termination: M10 on to Socomec 3 pole door interlocked Load Break Isolator, MCCB or Busbar

Optimised Power Products Africa - Power Factor Correction Equipment Technical Specification

How do you deal with high harmonics?

A site survey will reveal the harmonic values of your installation.

  • If they are found to be below 4%, you can use a standard PFC unit.
  • If they are above are 4%, you will need a detuned unit, utilising heavy-duty capacitors and harmonic limiting inductors.

This will eliminate all harmonic issues for good.

What are the problems associated with harmonic distortion?
  • Damage to sensitive electronic equipment
  • Increase in energy costs
  • Unexplained tripping of devices
  • Deterioration of standard capacitor circuits & power factor correction
  • Distortion of supply voltage & current waveform
  • Reduction in power quality
  • Stress of electrical plant & machinery including generators
  • Increase in operating temperate of cables & switchgear
  • Increase in vibration levels

Harmonics can disrupt operations and severely reduce life span of equipment & controllers.

How much does OPP Power Factor Correction cost?

Prices vary depending on the size of your electrical installation and the nature of your power factor issues.

But the savings you’ll make are so great that our units pay for themselves (with the savings they make) in months. Sometimes it’s even less than that.

After that you’ll be saving all the way.

1. NO MORE Low Power Factor Surcharges.

2. SAVING up to 25% on all future electricity bills.

3. And if you use diesel generators, you’ll also be making BIG SAVINGS on the ever increasing costs of diesel fuel.

Contact us Today. Start Saving Right Away!

OPP is the leading supplier of Power Factor Correction Equipment to companies across Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

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