Disturbance impacts

We Energies recognizes that electrical disturbances, whether a momentary increase or decrease in voltage or an extended outage, can have a negative impact on our customers’ homes and businesses.

Yesterday's equipment had the ability to "ride through" many of the power disturbances that cause modern equipment to malfunction. Today, equipment being used to manage and store data as well as control processes is made with more sensitive electronics. With the creation of solid state components and microprocessors, consumers are much more aware of the power system disturbances that went unnoticed in the past (the "blinking clock" syndrome).

The effects of these interruptions and disturbances can be quite costly. Surveys of large businesses indicate that power disturbance-related downtime costs can average from $1,000 per event up to $200,000 an hour for extended interruptions. An analysis performed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers found that a combined total of 72 significant disturbances per year, or 6 per month, can be expected. These numbers demonstrate why power quality is so vital to businesses and how power monitoring and facility audits can assist businesses in understanding the effects of these disturbances on their facilities.

In evaluating the overall costs, it is important to examine all of the factors associated with a power disturbance. The following categories should be examined in determining your costs:

  • Production Loss: Value lost while plant activities were halted, including the financial effects at other company sites and any cost or penalty for production, scheduling and delivery delays.
  • Labor Costs: The time spent to dispose of waste product, manufacture replacement product, restart equipment and clean production areas.
  • Equipment Costs: Plant equipment repair/replacement and unplanned maintenance are the major cost contributors in this category.
  • Material Costs: Costs associated with scrap material, second-quality product and any "shop costs" incurred.
  • Other Factors: Additional factors to consider are loss in sales revenue, excess inventory and carrying cost, quality assurance, depreciation, interruption costs and work-in-progress carrying costs.

Careful analysis of all of the costs is necessary to develop an understanding of the impact of power disturbances on a business. We Energies is committed to helping our customers understand the impact that power quality has on their business. Our goal is to partner with our customers in finding the causes and cost-effective solutions to their problems.

Our interactive and downloadable cost tracking tool can help you calculate these costs for your business.

Interruption Costs

Business / Industry


Paper Industry

$10,000 - $30,000 / event

Textile Industry

$10,000 - $40,000 / event

Data Processing

$10,000 - $40,000 / event

Plastics Industry

$10,000 - $50,000 / event

Semiconductor Industry

$10,000 - $50,000 / event

Automotive Manufacturing

$15,000 / event

Air Traffic Control

$15,000 / minute

Office Building

$22,000 per 500 kVA of critical load

Broadcast Facility

$100,000 / 30 minutes

Source: EPRI – Power Quality Applications Guide for Architects and Engineers