Inductive consumers (single-phase and three-phase asynchronous motors, transformers, ballasts, fluorescent lighting, ...) in the course of work, from the network alongside active power that is converted into useful work (rotation of the motor shaft, and light), also pull the reactive power used to create a magnetic field. Unlike active energy which is permanently'' being spent'' in the consumer, reactive power '' oscillates'' between the source and the consumer.

The presence of reactive power in the system has negative consequences - though it does not perform useful work, reactive power burdens the transmission lines. The total power of a system is the vector sum of active and reactive power of the system.

As a measure of the presence of reactive power in the system using the power factor (cos ρ). Power factor is defined as the ratio between active and total power of a consumer:

Power companies charge the consumption of reactive power. Monthly cost of reactive power can be substantial depending on the size and number of consumers of reactive power at the facility or the number and power of induction motors at the facility, because they are the most frequent consumers of the plant.

To reduce the cost of reactive power compensation of energy is performed by installing capacitor boxes. From the diagram we see that the active power that is converted into useful work remains the same.

Meter that reads the reactive power, after the installation of capacitor batteries, reads much smaller amount of reactive power, because now consumers are requiring reactive power supplied locally from the of capacitor batteries. The process is oscillatory, ie. in a half-period consumers take energy from the capacitor and during other periods, return the energy in the capacitors.

By installing the capacitor batteries are attained not only the economic effect of reduction of electricity bills, but also results in many other effects:

  • increase in the available power
  • reduction of losses in transmission lines
  • reduction of voltage drops
  • increase in equipment life cycle
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