Power quality determines the fitness of electric power to consumer devices. Synchronization of the voltage frequency and phase allows electrical systems to function in their intended manner without significant loss of performance or life. The term is used to describe electric power that drives an electrical load and the load’s ability to function properly. Without the proper power, an electrical device (or load) may malfunction, fail prematurely or not operate at all. There are many ways in which electric power can be of poor quality and many more causes of such poor quality power.
The electric power industry comprises electricity generation (AC power), electric power transmission and ultimately electric power distribution to an electricity meter located at the premises of the end user of the electric power. The electricity then moves through the wiring system of the end user until it reaches the load. The complexity of the system to move electric energy from the point of production to the point of consumption combined with variations in weather, generation, demand and other factors provide many opportunities for the quality of supply to be compromised.
While “power quality” is a convenient term for many, it is the quality of the voltage—rather than power or electric current—that is actually described by the term. Power is simply the flow of energy and the current demanded by a load is largely uncontrollable.