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Home KSEB kVAh Metering Some Thoughts

kVAh Metering Some Thoughts

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Rajeev N. Nair, Asst: Exe: Engineer In the conventional method of electricity metering, the active energy (kWh) is measured. And the tariff is fixed by most of the utilities (duly authorized by the regulatory authority) for active energy consumed. Static capacitors are insisted along with inductive loads to improve the power factor to a specified value. For HT/EHT consumers, penalty is imposed for maintaining the average power factor below a minimum specified value which is 0.9 in KSEB. Incentives are given for improving the average power factor above the specified value up to unity. In kWh metering and tariff system, if penalty is not imposed, the consumers are less bothered to maintain their load power factor close to unity.

When the power factor of the load falls below unity or below a specified value (say 0.9), the apparent energy (kVAh) delivered to the load increases for the same active energy (kWh) delivered. kVAh delivered with poor power factor will be greater than the kVAh delivered with unity power factor for same kWh delivered. This means the supplier has to maintain an additional installed capacity (kVA) due to poor power factor of the load maintained by the consumers. Working with poor power factor of the load leads to an increased power loss (I x I x Z) in the supply system as the current drawn through the supply system with poor power factor of the load will be higher than the current drawn through the supply system with unity power factor of the load for same kWh delivered.

If the tariff is fixed for active energy measured, the supplier has to meet the loss in the supply system due to this additional current drawn due to the poor power factor of the load maintained by the consumers. Or regulatory measures have to be initiated upon the consumers who do not maintain the power factor of the load at unity or a specified value. Imposing penalty to 100% consumers who create this burden, by identifying them through special tasks, are not practical.
If kVAh (apparent energy) metering is employed, automatically it becomes the responsibility of the consumer to maintain the quality of the load by improving its power factor. Or the consumers automatically pay themselves for the additional burden due to poor power factor of the load maintained by them. In kVAh billing system as the electricity bills conceive this additional burden for 100% consumers who create it, no separate penalty need to be imposed. Or such burden created by one consumer will not appear as an indirect liability to other consumers.

The tariff can be restructured in kVAh metering system for getting the same amount of bill in kWh metering system, for a consumer who maintains the quality of load. One unit of active energy (1 kWh) sold at Rs. 1.00 in kWh metering system to a consumer who maintains the load power factor at 0.9 is equivalent to one unit of apparent energy (1 kVAh) sold at 90 paise in kVAh metering system to the same consumer. In the latter, the consumer becomes conscious to keep the power factor (PF) at 0.9 or better.

In kVAh tariff, working the load with poor power factor will cost more for a consumer on account of increased kVAh for the same kWh output as kVAh=kWh/PF.

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