5/8 – Electrical equipment: power harmonics, power factor

The benefits of Power Factor Correction and Power Harmonic mitigation

6 Benefits are described here:

  • Reduce electricity bill
  • Reduce power losses
  • Reduce cable size
  • Comply with power harmonic emission limits requested by Utilities
  • Improve process quality
  • Improve business performance
  • Reduce electricity bill: Low power factor and power harmonics are resulting in increased power demand and reactive energy consumption. Both aspects are part of the electricity bill paid to the Electricity Utility that could be reduced by Power Factor Correction and Power Harmonic mitigation.
  • Reduce power losses: By reducing the line currents necessary for transmission of a given active power to the loads, Power Factor Correction and Power Harmonic mitigation are reducing the power losses in the circuits.
  • Reduce cable size: The cable size is determined according to the current requirements. In the following table is given the multiplying factor to be applied to the cable cross section which could result from a poor Power Factor value.
power factor and multiplying factor

power factor and multiplying factor

  • Comply with power harmonic emission limits requested by Utilities: in order to reduce the power losses in Transmission and Distribution networks, Electricity Utilities are fixing limits for harmonic distortion. The compliance to these limits is a requirement before connection of a new installation. Mitigation may also be requested in case of disturbance generated by an existing installation.
  • Improve process quality: Process quality or machine operation can be optimized if voltage fluctuations and distortion are reduced by Power Factor Correction. Disturbances of sensitive electrical equipment (computer management system, sensors…) can be avoided.
  • Improve business performance: A lower cost of electrical equipment such as transformer, cables, switchgear, will result in a reduced Capex.  Opex is reduced by reduction of power losses, reduction of subscribed power, and elimination of reactive energy penalties. System availability and reliability are improved.

Jacques Schonek


  • Great article, we do lots of work in the elctrical sector, like electrical testing and inspection, energy maintenance and much more, please check out our site to see how we can help you.

  • The source, transmission and amplification of harmonics are common knowledge and easily understood.
    In terms of harmonic filtration what would you say are the pro’s and cons of passive and active filters?

    For MV and HV systems where second and third order filters are more common, what software packages would you recommend for modelling and assisting in the design of passive filters?

  • iam an electrical power engineer searching power quality topics (Now: Active Reactive power compensation by using active filter) and need specialists to help me on active harmonic filters

    • Amarie, the equipment we supply (In South Africa) usually follows the following international standards or specifications:
      Capacitors Low Voltage – IEEE 18 – 2002
      Capacitors Medium Voltage – IEC 60871 parts 1 & 2 (MV being above 690V)
      Reactors – IEC 60289

      Hope this helps.

  • hello sir i m a student of B.E3rd yr.
    i want to know how power factor and power harmonics affect in our electricity bills??

    • Trishla, the issue of harmonics does influence metering accuracy.
      It largely depends on the type of meter, are they true RMS, the type of harmonic (Pos, Neg or Zero phase sequence) as to how the metering will be influenced.

  • is it possible do design an electrical equipment to face an less hormonics( not load dependent) or the generating equipment having the internal design factor to reduce the harmonics generation?

    if anybody like to discuss/share knowledge in this topic, pls come to mail.



  • i am electrical engineer i want electrical knowledge for construction field

  • i hav 2 do a projct s im in final yr…..wer plannning 2 do on train…is thr ny possibility 2 link the compartments magnitically???..giv m som suggstion

  • waoh, hoping to bring in earthing questions soon i.e while using ppr pipes what will be the best way to improve earthing to the very rocky areas since bonding the ppr water pipes is no longer effective due to conductivity of the ppr pipes?

  • I am research scholar …I am in initial stage for collecting datas

    suggest some related research topics within power quality and energy conservation in real time applications

  • great post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists
    of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing.
    I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

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