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Power factor correction: Why it is important

Publication date: 
July 2004
Author: 
Richard Huber, P. Eng., Richard Huber Engineering, Ltd.

In large office buildings or industrial settings, the power factor should be maintained close to unity. The benefits in doing so are as follows: The losses in the cables and other equipment can be reduced because the current flow through them is reduced. This, in turn, reduces heating, and hence aging. In addition, the requirements for circuit interrupting devices are less onerous. So smaller or less expensive ones can be used. Finally, energy costs can be reduced by eliminating or reducing utility surcharges. Note that not all utilities penalize the user for low power factor.