Power Quality Studies

Power systems and power quality (PQ) ngineering studies provide the capability to evaluate utility and customer system problems and mitigation techniques, distribution system planning and operations, distributed generation, energy conservation, energy conversion, and end-user power quality requirements. Our power system modeling and analysis capabilities provide the foundation for all other activities within this core area of Electrotek’s expertise. Primary activities include computer modeling and simulation and analysis for the evaluation of power systems harmonic and transient phenomena. Additional expertise includes traditional power system analysis functions, such as distribution planning, stability, short circuit, and load flow. Important capabilities include:


Electrotek uses computer modeling and simulations to analyze potential problems at the utility/customer interface and points internal to plant electrical systems. Analysis results include recommendations for optimum solutions to power quality problems. Analysis of various methods and solutions are determined based on economic, control, and technical considerations. Specifications are determined for required equipment, including power conditioning equipment, power mitigation equipment, custom power systems and equipment, harmonic filters, switching devices, current limiting reactors, surge arresters, and customer surge control devices (e.g. MOVs, TVSSs).

Studies include:

  • Voltage variation analysis – to determine the probability of nuisance tripping of sensitive electrical and electronic loads and to evaluate the effectiveness of possible corrective measures.
  • Surge studies – addressing problems resulting from lightning, motor starting, ferroresonance, and other transient-related events/operations.
  • Harmonic studies – modeling, simulation and analysis of harmonic current sources, harmonic current flow, reactive power management (internal and external power factor capacitor banks), and design of harmonic filters (passive and active).
  • Utility capacitor-switching analysis – analyzing transient events to determine power quality problems and evaluate possible mitigation strategies.
  • Insulation coordination analysis – assists in the development of protection strategies for lightning and transmission system faults.
  • Loss reduction analysis – addressing power system losses of the total energy generated by an electric utility, with analysis of distribution loss conditions, corrective measures, and impacts.
  • Load upgrade and impact analysis – addressing wide-spread replacement of traditional loads with power electronic-based loads including impacts on customer electrical systems and utility power distribution systems.

Electrotek uses industry-recognized computer-based modeling and simulation tools to perform these studies, including the Electromagnetic Transients Program: Revised Version (EMTP-RV) and PSCAD® power system simulation, transient analysis programs and other software used in power system and power quality analysis. Electrotek has also developed utility distribution system modeling tools both for internal use and on a contract basis for major utility research organizations and other organizations. Electrotek developed the first Microsoft Windows-based EMTP platform including new simulation algorithms.

Architecture & Engineering Firms

As commercial and industrial customers endure and learn more about power quality problems and their effects on their bottom lines, A&E firms are often asked to address power quality at the system level when starting a new facility design or upgrading an existing one.  A new system design may be used to power large power electronics-based equipment new to that customer. An existing design may be upgraded to support replacement of older electrical technologies with new power electronics-based technologies. For example, a refrigeration and cold storage company with plans to install new battery chargers for their fleet of fork lifts, pallet jacks, etc. may have been advised by the manufacturer to have an expert PQ engineering firm conduct a harmonic study on their plant’s power system.

A&E firms may also have the need to have other power systems studies conducted on commercial and industrial power systems as a part of a larger project. Commercial customers may have the need to add space to existing facilities to support additional business requiring the use of power electronics- based equipment. Or, they may have experienced an internal power system or equipment malfunction or failure. The customers of some commercial and industrial businesses may require their vendors to provide an engineering study indicating that product manufacturing not be interrupted and quality not be compromised by PQ problems generated by the utility or internal to the plant electrical system.

Electrotek’s expert power systems and PQ engineers can provide the professional engineering services required to meet the technical requirements of A&E firms for their commercial and industrial customers.

Equipment Manufacturer

Electrotek offers extensive industrial and commercial power system and PQ studies expertise, including site surveys involving power quality monitoring measurements, computer simulations, and characterization of electrical / electronic equipment immunity (sensitivity) to PQ disturbances. Electrotek applies Dranetz HDPQ Xplorer and Dranetz Encore Series 61000 power quality monitoring systems combined with its analog/digital input module to measure and track plant process system variables with changes in plant power quality at the power-to-equipment interface—allows identification of system dependencies on power quality for improvement of system performance. Specific study capabilities include power factor correction analysis, harmonic evaluations, transient analysis, and power quality site surveys involving wiring and ground evaluations. Electrotek has developed a comprehensive approach for analyzing industrial power quality-related concerns. Supporting this approach is considerable design and application-based expertise using harmonic analysis and simulation via SuperHarm®, a tool designed to assist the electric power engineer in evaluating harmonic concerns for electric power systems. This software allows the user to develop a computer model of the system of interest and explore variations on system loads and configurations along with the resulting impact on system frequency response and voltage and current distortion levels.

Electrotek uses computer simulations to analyze potential problems at the utility/industrial interface. Analysis results include recommendations for optimum solutions to power factor correction, harmonic mitigation, and switching overvoltages. Analysis of various methods and solutions are determined based on economic, control, and technical considerations.  Specifications are determined for required equipment, including power factor correction, harmonic filters, switching devices, current limiting reactors, neutral-to-ground resistors, surge arresters, and customer surge control devices.

End Users

End users outside large commercial and industrial corporations who own their own small businesses may have a need for a power system or PQ study. Owners of commercial and industrial facilities (properties), who rent them to commercial and industrial corporations, are frequently responsible for the facility and its infrastructure including the entire electrical system and may also have these needs. Investors who own retail or restaurant chains may have a need to have a power systems or PQ study performed by an expert engineering firm who has experience with power system or PQ problems in these types of businesses.

Owners and tenants may experience equipment malfunctions or failures, may need to make changes to their facilities involving the electrical system or may be planning for an equipment upgrade to replace older equipment (linear, electromechanical or analog) with power electronics-based non-linear equipment. Such changes often present new power system and PQ concerns and may require a harmonics evaluation, power factor correction study, transient study or voltage sag study.

Such evaluations and studies are designed to determine if harmonic filtering, upgrades or changes to a power factor correction system, surge arresters, snubbers, sag mitigation or other PQ mitigation system is needed. Electrotek’s expert engineers can evaluate these concerns and determine if changes need to be made to ensure power system reliability and quality power is delivered to electrical and electronic equipment. Electrotek’s engineering studies can help ensure end users remain profitable, product quality products and grow their bottom lines.