Unable to control its own commercial and technical losses, the Central Power Distribution Company (APCPDCL) is now gearing up to serve notices to city consumers for installation of capacitors wherever the power factor is less than the optimum.

It effectively means that many domestic and industrial consumers, including apartment complexes and small-time malls, will have to install capacitors for their use of water pumping systems and elevators.

The Operation and Maintenance officials of the company’s Metro Zone are being instructed to inspect all the Low Tension (LT) distribution transformers in their respective circles, and issue notices for installation of capacitors wherever the power factor is less than 0.9.

Technically, Power Factor is the ratio of the actual power flowing at the load point, to the active power in the circuit. Its value hovers between 0 and 1, with a higher power factor denoting efficiency of power utilisation, and a lower power factor the other way round. The higher the power factor is, the closer the load of active power is to that of actual power.

With the consumer paying for the active power even while using the actual power, a higher power factor also results in economy of energy and money.

Power utilisation

Ideally, value of power factor should be over 0.9, to denote optimum power utilisation. However, with the use of capacitors along with the apparatus such as induction motors, the power factor can be improved where it is lower than 0.9.

“Though almost all apartment complexes and shopping malls are using induction motors and elevators, quite a few have not installed capacitors. The exercise now is to make them install capacitors so that they can enjoy reduced power bills, and power will be saved for the utility,” a highly placed source from the Metro Zone says. Notices will be served, also to government offices, he said.

An informal survey conducted in the Central Circle revealed that over 30 per cent of the LT distribution transformers supplying to domestic and commercial consumers have power factor less than 0.9. Of a total of 263 transformers inspected, 80 have the power factor largely between 0.5 and 0.85, denoting inefficient usage of power.

A capacitor costs anywhere between Rs.2,000 and Rs.3,000, and will not be a burden on apartment complexes and malls, officials say.

The ‘General Terms and Conditions of Supply’ stipulated by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission explicitly ask the company to release new connections only if induction motors and other such equipment are supported by capacitors.

While the company religiously implements the instructions for HT industrial consumers, it has so far condoned the domestic and commercial entities from the rule. With the onset of power crisis, the company has now begun to tighten it for everybody.

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