Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Customer Service (M-F 8a-5:30p): 425-783-1000


What is Power Quality?

What is a power quality problem? It’s any distortion of electricity that results in damage or mis-operation of electronic equipment or processes. There are many types of electrical disturbances and each can exhibit different symptoms.

If you’re not certain whether or not you have power quality problems, ask yourself the following questions about your facility:

  • Have your computers or processes shutdown or locked up unexpectedly?
  • Does your electrical room or equipment feel too hot?
  • Have you added new load to your facility without upgrading the electrical system?
  • Do your employees complain of flickering lights?
  • Are your electrical ballasts failing short of their expected life?
  • Have you experienced unexplained motor failures?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a power quality problem.

Additionally, power quality problems extend beyond the electric power system, such as when a electromagnetic interference from a fan motor causes distortion on a computer screen.

Although some symptoms may be obvious, a power quality problem can be complicated, involving the building wiring, natural phenomena such as lightning, interaction between equipment, or interaction between the utility and the customer equipment. Most power quality problems are a result of equipment that is designed to operate on flawless electricity from the utility. However, many things can happen to electricity as it travels from its point of generation to the end users electrical load.

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