Power Quality Optimization: Minimizing Disturbances and Maximizing Energy Efficiency

Has this happened to you? You made the strategic investment in energy-efficient equipment to enhance sustainability, but instead, you encountered a frustrating cycle of disturbances and unplanned stoppages. Upon investigation, you discovered that the sensitivity against voltage fluctuations of your energy-efficient equipment was the root cause of these disruptions.

The importance of power quality

Power quality is vital because voltage fluctuations can disrupt energy-efficient equipment operation, leading to disturbances and unplanned stoppages, undermining sustainability investments.

An article written by EPRI [1], states that historically, electrical loads could ride through most grid voltage and current variations. Yet, equipment today is more sensitive to unplanned stoppages and failure.

The economic impact of power quality

EPRI published major benchmarking studies published in 1996 [2] and 2003 [3]. EPRI found that utility customers incur roughly 18 power quality disturbance events per year.

The minimum voltage in those events would go below 70% from nominal.

A more recent study in 2020 [4], conducted by S&C found the quality of electrical supply has not improved. The key findings in the report are as follows:

These studies conclusively demonstrate that manufacturing interruptions have become a routine occurrence for most companies, resulting in significant and ongoing economic costs.

Classification of power quality parameters

Power quality problems are caused by either:

 Internal events such as:

External events such as:

These events cause various power quality issues, as depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Power Quality Indicators IEEE 1159

Balance power quality and energy efficiency

Though weather events cause most unplanned stoppages, energy-efficient equipment uses power electronics. This equipment is sensitive to power fluctuations and prone to increased harmonic distortions. Examples where energy-efficient equipment can influence power quality:

Planning for power quality monitoring and correction is key to overcoming these challenges.

Three steps to help reduce your power quality problems

1.    Visibility – Stay informed on the quality of your electricity supply

Measuring water quality is the only way to detect harmful contaminants, and the same principle applies to electricity. Power Quality analyzers monitor & record anomalies in the electrical network. As well, they can notify plant operators when inconsistencies occur.

2.    Engagement with the utility – First line of support 

External events such as voltage sags or momentary interruptions can hinder the utility's ability to provide stable electricity to consumers. Engaging with the utility allows you to gain insights into the origin of these events and work collaboratively to find solutions.

3.     Power Quality Improvement Equipment – Solutions are driven by PQ data

It is crucial to avoid correcting one power quality issue without considering other contributing factors, as it could result in production downtime.

How can Omniverter help?

You know that most companies will incur an average of 18 events a year, with a cost of at least $50,000 per event. Make sure you are protected when the next event occurs.

Omniverter understands the importance of power quality. Over 90% of our tailored power quality solutions deliver an ROI payback in less than 12 months.

Eliminate your anxiety by minimizing downtime and ensure your facility keeps running, even during severe weather storms.

Contact us to schedule a 30-minute meeting. This will help us understand the risks you face in keeping the production running.


[1]. Global Electrification, New Technologies, and Continuing Need for Power Quality, Mark McGranaghan, EPRI, 2022.

[2] An Assessment of Distribution System Power Quality, Volumes 1-3, TR-106926, V1-V3, EPRI, Palo Alto, Calif., 1996

[3] Distribution System Power Quality Assessment: Phase II, TR-1001678, EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, 2003.

[4] 2020 State of Commercial & Industrial Power Reliability Report, Technical Paper 100-T125, June 1, 2020