Improving Energy Efficiencies by Correcting Power Factor

Feb 28, 2023

As the demand for electricity continues to rise, it's becoming increasingly important for electric utility companies (utilities) to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste. One crucial factor in achieving these goals is power factor. Specifically, the relationship between power factor and energy efficiency as it applies to distribution transformers.

Distribution transformers are an essential part of the electrical grid, stepping down the high voltage of electricity produced at power plants to the lower voltage needed for homes and businesses. However, distribution transformers can also be a source of power factor problems. Inefficient distribution transformers with low power factors can lead to wasted energy, increased energy costs, and reduced system reliability.

How does power factor affect energy efficiency in distribution transformers?

A low power factor means that more current is needed to supply the same amount of power, which increases the energy losses in the transformer. This increased current also leads to higher electricity bills and can cause wear and tear on electrical equipment. By improving power factor, utilities can reduce these energy losses, improve energy efficiency, and lower costs.

One way to improve power factor is through power factor correction. This involves adding capacitors to the electrical system to counteract the effects of inductive loads and improve power factor. However, before implementing power factor correction, it's essential to accurately measure power factor and determine where the power factor problems are occurring.

How can you accurately measure power factor within your system?

Modern distribution transformer monitors can provide real-time data on power factor, allowing utilities to identify areas where power factor correction can be applied for maximum benefit. These monitors can also provide other valuable information, such as voltage and current levels, temperature, and oil levels, enabling utilities to make informed decisions about maintenance and repairs enabling predictive maintenance.

Power factor and energy efficiency are closely related, and distribution transformers can be a substantial source of power factor challenges in the electrical grid. Monitoring power factor with distribution transformer monitors can help utilities improve energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and maintain a reliable electrical grid.


INCON® Distribution Transformer Monitor (DTM)

A key advantage of the DTM is that it provides a transformer’s real-time power factor. This enables utilities to monitor power factor across their network for any inefficiencies and strategically deploy maintenance. Utilities can also trend power factor and other key data points provided by the DTM to develop predictive maintenance strategies.

All this information can be collected in UNITE™ Asset Management Database providing a 360° network view of your critical assets. A secure MQTT communication protocol allows the DTM to communicate with UNITE™ to provide user-friendly access to all distribution transformer performance data for convenient and centralized analysis.

The DTM provides continuous, meter-grade precision performance monitoring of high-value, mission critical, low voltage pad mount and conventional pole mount transformers that enables data-driven decision making.




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