What is the reactive energy?

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What is the reactive energy?

What is the reactive energy?


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If you have seen the concept of reactive energy reflected in your electricity bill and you do not understand why it is due in Lumisa we want to clarify these doubts.

In an electrical installation we have three types of energy or power present:

  • Active energy, that is, the energy that we actually consume and that is billed in our energy term.
  • Reactive energy, that is, the demand for extra energy necessary for some equipment such as motors, transformers or machinery to operate.
  • Apparent power, being the sum of both.
Characteristics of reactive energy

Reactive energy is not consumed, it is not useful for the system. Although it does not produce useful work, it is necessary to neutralize or compensate it.

  • The reactive energy is measured in kVArh (Kilo volt-amp reactive hour).
  • Reactive energy is created in devices or machinery that works with motors or transformers powered by the alternating current that reaches the supply.
Penalty for excess reactive energy

Although it does not imply real consumption, the reactive energy can appear on the electricity bill since this energy must be transported, and, therefore, entails a cost for the Distributor.

The cost of reactive energy is only included in the invoice when the consumption of reactive energy is significant, as established by Royal Decree 1164/2001, of October 26.

The penalty for excess reactive energy will be applied based on the contracted power:

Contracted power Rate  Penalty periods Penalty cost
Less than 15 kW (home and bussiness) 2.0A Billed only if the reactive energy exceeds 50 % of the active energy consumption Only the excess will be charged from 50 %
2.1A
Above 15 kW (bussiness and industry) 3.0A Billed only if the reactive energy exceeds 33 % of the active energy. It does not apply in the Valle period Only the excess will be charged from 33 %
3.1A
6.0A
Calculation of reactive energy

The calculation of the reactive energy is defined in Order ITC / 688/2011, of March 30, which establishes the access tolls as of April 1, 2011 and certain tariffs and premiums of the special regime facilities.

How to save on reactive energy

To obtain a saving in reactive energy and avoid the penalties for reactive energy, the most suitable is to install capacitor banks in the supply facilities.

Capacitor batteries are devices that reduce the demand for reactive energy in the network. As for the advantages:

  • They reduce the apparent power, leaving more power available to increase the consumption of the installation without having to modify it.
  • Reduces the cost of the electricity bill avoiding the penalty for excess reactive energy.
  • Reduces the quality of tension, reducing the apparent power also reduces the effective current, thus avoiding voltage drop.
  • In installations with a power transformer (High voltage supply points) the power available in the secondary is increased.

Capacitor batteries to compensate for reactive energy are recommended for companies or warehouses.

The reactive energy compensation has a number of advantages such as:

  • Increased capacity of installed lines and transformers.
  • Improvement of the network voltage.
  • Decrease of lost energy.
  • Reduction of the global cost of energy.

If you want to install a capacitor bank it is recommended that you go to an expert so they can advise you.


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