Problem resolution

Steps for resolving your problem

A recent study by the Electric Power Research Institute, a consortium supported by utility companies, estimated that power failures cost the United States economy $104 billion a year and that power quality problems such as spikes, surges and drops cost an additional $15 billion. Expenditures to address these problems each year run into the billions of dollars.

When power quality problems are suspected in a facility, a number of systematic and cost-effective steps should be taken to resolve the problems including:

Steps to troubleshooting

Step 1

Make an inventory of all equipment in the facility, noting all equipment vulnerable to a disturbance.

Step 2

Create a disturbance log and enter the symptoms experienced.

  • What equipment was affected?
  • What was the time and frequency of occurrence?
  • What was the correlation to other events or operations in the facility?
  • What new equipment has been added or what changes in existing equipment have occurred?

Step 3

Inspect wiring and grounding by checking for loose connections, defective breakers or fuses, and short circuits.

  • Determine if new circuits have been added or if existing circuits have been modified.
  • Examine the circuit to the affected equipment, particularly the grounding and circuit capacity.

Step 4

Perform measuring and monitoring of the circuit voltage and if necessary, record voltages using a line disturbance analyzer.

Step 5

Analyze and evaluate all of the information.

Step 6

Resolve the problem by implementing appropriate solutions.

  • Enlist the services of the equipment supplier to examine the equipment.
  • Take steps to ensure that wiring and grounding are proper.
  • Provide surge protection on all circuits with sensitive equipment.
  • Evaluate the need for additional power quality equipment (isolation, regulation, UPS, etc.).