Reactive Power Charge Q&A

What is the Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge?

The Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge is a charge for "non-working" power, or power that has to be made up due to inefficiencies at the customer's load source. The level of inefficiency is called the power factor and is expressed as a percentage. For example, a power factor of 70 percent means of the total current supplied, only 70 percent is actually doing work; the remaining 30 percent is non-working, or reactive, power that must be made up by the utility.

Which customers are assessed the Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge?

Customers with a monthly power factor of 96% or better do not pay Reactive Power(KVAR) Charges (measured in KVAR or KiloVolt-Ampere Reactive). However, customers with a power factor below 96% will continue to be assessed the Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge.

How do I know what my Power Factor Is?

Although the Power Factor percentage can be calculated from data on your bill (using metered KVAR and KW data) – the quantity of reactive energy you are being charged for -- has already been calculated under "ADJUSTED USAGE" found at the bottom of your bill.

How do I determine how much Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge I will be paying?

The data is located at the bottom of your PSO bill. Make sure you are looking at section ADJUSTED USAGE (see below):

Multiply KVAR number (28.7 KVAR) X Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge | 28.7 KVAR X $1.75 (April 2010) = $50.23
What if there is no KVAR located in this section on the customer bill?

This means your power factor is at 96% or above and you are not being charged a Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge this month.

What type of equipment causes Reactive Power(KVAR) use?

Some examples are: motors, lighting ballasts and step down transformers.

How can my company reduce or eliminate the Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge?

Equipment can be installed by qualified engineers or electrical contractors to correct your power factor and thereby reduce or eliminate the Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge.

How will improving my system help lower costs for all PSO customers?

Greater system efficiency reduces PSO line losses and system loading, which lowers power plant fuel use and improves line & plant capacity.

Why does PSO assess the Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge?

Most utilities charge for reactive power to align their charges more closely to the cost of serving the customer. Reactive power is wasteful and can be corrected by the customer.

What are the benefits to me to correct my power factor?

  1. Save money on your electric bill (by reducing your Reactive Power(KVAR) Charge)
  2. Can help delay electrical capacity upgrades in your facility
Where can I get additional information?

Information about Reactive Power(KVAR) and reducing power factor costs can be obtained by reviewing the Department of Energy's fact sheet.

More information (including other links) at DOE's Energy Matters article.

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