Improve Power Factor and reduce bleeding

There are more or less 10,000 offices in and around Andheri east area. Considering electricity consumption , all the offices are commercial consumers. Almost 90% of these offices are consuming electricity at a very poor power factor (around 0.80 to 0.90). They pay hefty fine (to the tune of Rs:2000 to Rs:25000 ) every month. At this rate cumulative loss is staggering . The sheer fact is that most of the entrepreneurs have no idea about this loss they are incurring month after month since 2004 below their noses . Some entrepreneurs do not even know the details of their electricity consumption or how the bill is calculated. Power factor is the angle between active load and reactive load. To a layman it is at what angle you are consuming your electricity. The more the angle the more the loss. The less the angle the less is loss. When you are consuming electricity at zero angle you are using your electricity most efficiently. The reactive load which does nothing but simply consumes electricity is zero when power factor is unity and it is maximum when this angle reaches 90 deg. Power factor is a measurement of cosine of this very angle (most efficient is Cos(0) = 1; most inefficient is Cos(90) = 0). As per MERC (Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission ) ,a commercial establishment is supposed to consume electricity at a power factor not less than 0.92 (Converting into angle this is 23 degree) . For each 0.1 less from 0.92 ,establishment is to pay penalty (which increases with power consumption) . The average angle as I have seen in most of these offices is around 0.8 or 37 Degree. However, Domestic consumers are exempted from power factor penalty. To tackle this problem , easy and cheap solution is available at market. Just put some capacitor (Depending upon your load and existing power factor ) across your load and you are out of penalty zone. What more if your average power factor is more than 0.95 you are entitled for power factor incentive. You can earn maximum 7% incentive (of your electricity bill) when your average power factor is unity.

The typical investment for installation of capacitor along with automatic switching ranges from Rs:30000 (Simple solution for 20 KVA contact demand and 0.80 existing power factor , a small office ) to Rs:4 lacs (Complex solution for 80 KVA Contact demand and 0.78 existing power factor, a moderately big office ). The average pay back period is 2 to 3 years.

Now the question I want to raise here is that because commercial offices have money , they just cannot squander it for poor power factor. This is a national wastage. And who does not know that electricity saved is electricity generated. Our industry is developing at a great rate and electricity is the blood of it. Can we really let it bleed when a simple solution is available at hand ? S.Bera Can be contacted for free advise at berasomnath@gmail.com

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