Fact or Fable? Power Conditioning Devices Save Energy
Fable – A 1981 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) study found that “properly conducted laboratory tests show that electric transients do not increase the energy consumption of typical electronic equipment, nor do transient voltage suppressors save energy for electrical equipment operating from typical electric supply systems.”
The primary purpose of power conditioning devices, such as transient voltage surge protection devices
(TVSPDs), is to protect equipment. Several surge protection device manufacturers are pushing the energy savings aspect of power quality. Some manufacturers claim savings in the 20 percent range.
The amount of savings is not realistic unless the existing power quality is extremely poor. This is generally not the case, so the energy savings would be very small.
The reality is that the devices are dormant well over 99.99 percent of the time. They become active only when some event creates a very high voltage spike. This could be on the utility side of the meter or on the customer side.
Even in a “noisy” (in an electrical sense) industrial environment where spikes are relatively frequent, their duration is measured in millionths of a second and even added together occupy a miniscule percentage of plant operating time.