Why should you measure power quality?
There are various causes of power quality disturbances. To effectively correct and prevent disturbances and malfunctions, it is essential that you know the situation.
Traditionally, most power quality measurements have consisted in direct faultsearching and troubleshooting. Machinery breaks down, lights flash, robots stop, electronic devices stop working. With portable measurements one can often come close to the source of the disturbance and subsequently remedy any faults.
Continuous power quality monitoring
However, many industries and utility companies now work proactively with continuous power quality monitoring to detect sources of disturbance and error conditions in the network before the consequences are too far-reaching. They utilize power quality monitoring systems as an “early warning” system, for example to quickly detect intermittent ground faults before they become full-scale failures with downtime and costly production losses.
As power quality systems and their analysis capabilities have increasingly become mor powerful, there are opportunities to work with statistics and trends in a way previously not possible. By for example seeing how voltage fluctuations and harmonic levels change on a yearly basis one can get control over how the grid reacts to current levels of planning.
In many contexts, it is of great value to get measurements before a specific action or reconstruction of the network and then to follow up with a verification measurement after the changes. Then you can make sure that the changes have had the intended effect, or you can see what impact they have had otherwise.
In connection with the wind power expansion and the expansion of other distributed power sources, large-scale changes of the grid occur. To get control over changes in the grid and in order to make sure that new facilities do not entail new disturbances, it has become common for utility companies to invest in continuous monitoring of the grid.
To measure is to know!