Disturbance impacts


We recognize that electrical disturbances, whether a momentary voltage change or an extended outage can have a negative impact on homes and businesses.

Older equipment could "ride through" many power disturbances that cause modern equipment to malfunction. Solid state components and microprocessors are more sensitive to power system disturbances that went unnoticed in the past (the “blinking clock” syndrome).

Effects of interruptions and disturbances can be costly. Surveys of large businesses indicate that downtime because of power disturbances can cost anywhere from $1,000 per event up to $200,000 an hour for extended interruptions. Power monitoring and facility audits can assist businesses in understanding the effects of these disturbances on their facilities.

To evaluate overall costs of disturbances, examine the following categories:

  • Production loss: Value lost while plant activities were halted, including financial effects at other company sites and any cost or penalty for production, scheduling and delivery delays.
  • Labor costs: Time spent to dispose of waste product, manufacture replacement product, restart equipment and clean production areas.
  • Equipment costs: Cost of repair, replacement and/or unplanned maintenance on equipment are major 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 costs is necessary to understand the impact of power disturbances on a business. We are committed to helping customers understand the impact power quality has on their business. Our goal is to partner with customers in finding causes as well as cost-effective solutions for power quality problems.

Our interactive and downloadable cost tracking tool can help calculate power disturbance costs.

Interruption costs

Business / Industry Cost
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