It's almost impossible to live without electricity at this time and age. However, using electricity comes at a cost and this cost can be rather burdensome sometimes.
There are plenty of tips online about good practices that can help you save energy, which means that you could use energy more efficiently and save extra money instead of paying hefty electricity bills.
However, if you find that your bills have been extremely high even after following those tips, you may want to check if you've been subjected to Tenaga Nasional Berhad's (TNB) Power Factor Surcharge (Surcaj Angkadar Kuasa)
What is power factor?
The index is used to measure (from 0 to 1) the level of electricity consumption efficiently. A low index would mean that there is an inefficient use of electricity and it represents a waste of electricity, and vice versa.
Why penalise users with low power factor?
It is said that utility companies all around the world charge customers an additional surcharge when their power factor is low. TNB imposes a penalty because low power factor shortens the lifespan of electrical appliances and causes power system losses to TNB.
Who will be affected?
Customers from the commercial, industrial, mining and agriculture category that use three (3) phase low-voltage system should take note of this surcharge. TNB said that this surcharge does not involve customers in the domestic category.
How can one avoid from getting this surcharge?
TNB states that a Power factor surcharge is imposed when your power factor is less than 0.90 (electricity supply 132kV and above) or less than 0.85 (electricity supply below 132 kV).
How much is this surcharge?
Power factor surcharge for customers with electricity supply below 132 kV is calculated as follows:
1.5% surcharge of the current bill – for every 0.01 less than 0.85 power factor.
3% surcharge of the current bill – for every 0.01 less than 0.75 power factor.
For example, according to the image above:
POWER FACTOR VALUE = 0.35
[ ((0.85 – 0.75) / 0.01) X 1.5% X RM873.05 ] + [ ((0.75 – POWER FACTOR VALUE 0.35) / 0.01) X 3% X RM873.05 ] = RM1,178.62
I don't want to be penalised with this power factor surcharge! What do I need to do?
The best way to avoid getting penalised is to improve your power factor.
1. Install equipment that can improve power factor, such as a Capacitor Bank.
2. Avoid operating motor-based electrical appliances without load or below the load recommended by manufacturers.
3. Use motor-based electrical appliances with a high power factor.
4. Use motor-based electrical appliances that are SIRIM-certified and have energy efficient labels.
5. Minimise operations of idling or lightly loaded motors.
6. Avoid operating equipment above its rated voltage.
7. Replace standard motors as they burn out with energy efficient motors.
It's also good to note that low power factor is resulted when there is high reactive power (KVAR) and is caused by inductive loads, which are sources of reactive power. Examples of inductive loads are transformers, induction motors, and High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting.
On top of saving money, here are some other benefits of improving the power factor:
2. Extends the lifespan of electrical appliances
3. Reduces electricity wastage for electrical installations at your premises
4. Conserves the environment by lowering fuel usage and helps the country reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
For more information on power factor surcharge, you can visit TNB's official website, call 1-300-88-5454 or send an email to [email protected].