Expert speaks: ‘Reducing blind current can save an average of 25 percent on the energy bill’

5 December 2023

Did you know that many companies do not use 10 to 35 percent of their electricity, but do pay for it? This non-useful part of the electrical power supplied via the grid is called reactive current or reactive power. The good news is that reactive current can be easily detected and reduced. We asked Harry Rink, Power Quaility Analyst at Keuring Service Nederland, part of Sansidor together with Karlo Rosing, how that works.

All devices that use mains power produce reactive current. Think of LED lighting, dimmers, chargers for telephones and laptops, cooling systems and electric motors. This occurs when generating magnetic and electric fields. The amount of reactive current depends greatly on the quality of the electrical device or installation.

Rink says that the phenomenon of reactive current is relatively unknown to many companies and organizations. ‘I regularly sit down with customers who are quite technically skilled themselves, but do not know that a significant part of their electricity is lost. Reactive current is not only relevant for large industrial consumers: the percentage of reactive current can also be high in an office space for fifteen people.’

Consumption down, reactive current up

Rink emphasizes that reactive electricity is also, or perhaps especially, a problem for organizations that are already very sustainable. ‘Get rid of gas, a heat pump, LED lighting; all measures that organizations can use to drastically reduce their energy consumption. But in the meantime they add a lot of reactive consumption. Reactive current is especially common in modern equipment and installations, with non-linear loads. For example, an old halogen lamp creates much less reactive current.

From practice: RGS Wolfsbos in Hoogeveen

The RGS Wolfsbos school community turned to Keuring Service Nederland for a Power Quality measurement. The target? Measure mains voltage quality, load on electrical installations and reactive power. The percentage of reactive current in the building was 22% of the total energy consumption. After installing a mains filter, the school saves 22,000 kW annually.

Energy scarcity and high costs

Reactive electricity is electricity that is generated, transported and for which you pay. “In times of energy scarcity and sky-high energy costs, you can imagine that companies would like to reduce this percentage,” says Rink. ‘To save costs, but also to contribute socially. After all, we are experiencing an energy shortage worldwide.’ In addition to saving energy, less reactive current also ensures a longer lifespan of equipment and installations.

Power Quality research

Enough reasons to want insight into the amount of reactive current within your organization. Keuring Service Nederland supports its customers in this. Rink: ‘We start with a Power Quality study, during which we connect our measuring equipment to the main connection. We run the measurement for half a day to a week to map all types of consumption. We bundle our findings in a report according to the recognized NEN-EN 50160 standard. This explains how the reactive current within your company can be reduced.’

Mains filter reduces reactive current

These studies show that the share of reactive current within a company is on average 25 percent. With peaks of up to 35 percent. Fortunately, according to Rink, something can be done about this. ‘With our advanced electronic mains filter, the percentage of reactive power can be reduced to below 2 percent. This ensures enormous energy savings, but also better quality of the mains voltage. This in turn ensures a longer lifespan of the equipment.’ The costs for the mains filter are between € 4,000 and € 12,000, depending on the amount of reactive current. Rink: “On average, our customers earn back this investment within 6 to 18 months.”

From practice: Vadeko Prefab in Winsum

With fire prevention as the goal, carpentry factory Vadeko Prefab asked Keuring Service Nederland to carry out a Power Quality study. It emerged that the percentage of reactive current was no less than 40% of the total energy consumption. Since taking measures to reduce reactive current, the factory has saved 190,000 kW per year.

Would you like to know more about the opportunities to reduce reactive current in your organization? Call us on 0593 -820202 or email us for a no-obligation quote:

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