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Surcharge by KPLC and Power Factor Correction

Surcharge by KPLC

Understanding Surcharge by KPLC

It is very important to understand what Surcharge by KPLC means. This is especially if your company’s power system is experiencing penalties associated with poor Power Factor.

What is Surcharge by KPLC?

Surcharge by KPLC is a Fine or Penalty imposed on your Bill by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) due to Poor Power Factor. KPLC will impose Surcharge on the monthly power consumption bill if Power Factor is less than 0.9.

Who is charged a Surcharge by KPLC in Kenya?

The Kenya Power and Lighting company imposes Surcharge on any electrical energy consumption, whether domestic or Industrial, provided that the power factor is less than 0.9. A surcharge on a consumer’s monthly bill is an indication that some of the power supplied by KPLC is wasted and not consumed in doing any useful work.

The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) is a public liability company whose role is to transmit, distribute, and retail electricity to customers in Kenya.

What is Power Factor?

Power Factor (PF) is a mathematical derivative of how efficiently your Load consumes supplied mains power. It can also be expressed as a measure of how resistive the Load is and it ranges from 0 to 1, thus a purely resistive load will have a PF of 1. When the PF is 1(unity) or purely resistive, it implies that all the power supplied by the KPLC is converted into useful energy.

However, in reality, and especially in a production environment such as manufacturing, the load is rarely resistive. The load tends to be Inductive and, on a few occasions, Capacitive. Inductive Load is mostly due to Motors which convert Electrical energy into Mechanical energy, a critical component in industries today.

Inductive Loads

In Inductive loads, the current tends to lag behind the supply voltage, while on the other hand regarding the driving voltage phase angle, the resulting current phase angle tends to be negative.

Lagging Power Factor and Surcharge by KPLC

Capacitive Loads

In Capacitive loads, the current tends to lead the supply voltage while in relation to the driving voltage phase angle, the resulting current phase angle tends to be positive.

leading power factor 1

How is the Power Factor calculated?

To calculate the PF, we must understand the following terms;

  • kW is Working Power(P) (also called Active Power or Real Power). It is the power that performs useful work.
  • kVAR is Reactive Power(Q). It is the power that magnetic equipment (transformer, motor, and relay) needs to produce the magnetizing flux.
  • kVA is Apparent Power(S). It is the “vectorial summation” of KVAR and KW.

Power Factor is the ratio of Working Power to Apparent Power.

Power Factor = kW/kVA

Below is the relationship between KW, kVA, kVAR, and Power Factor. We can also use an online calculator to calculate the same.

Power Triangle

In an ideal situation,

The angle θ (formed between kW and kVA) would approach zero.

Cosine θ would then approach one.

Power Factor would this approach Unity.

kVAR would be very small (approaching zero).

kW and kVA would be almost equal.

Principle of Power Factor Compensation

As illustrated in the figure below, the principle of compensation by reducing a large reactive power Q to a smaller value Q1 using Power Factor corrective instrument having a reactive power Qc. Consequently, the apparent power S reduces to S1.

Power Factor Correction in Kenya


How do you Improve Low Power Factor?

  1. Installing automatically switched capacitors.
  2. Adjusting existing capacitors – proper control and maintenance are essential to ensure the smooth running of the power factor corrective equipment.
  3. Upgrading Capacitors.
  4. Reducing harmonics.

How PID Systems Engineering Lower Electricity bill saving you Money

When the power factor is poor, below 0.9, KPLC will impose a Surcharge penalty on monthly bills which in the long run will run into might run into Hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of shillings. This high cost of energy directly eats into organizations’ revenues. In addition, poor power factor leads to overloading existing infrastructure which can lead to overheating and all negative effects associated with overloading.

PID Systems Engineering Ltd is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of Automatic Power Factor Correction(PFC) boards in Kenya. If you are looking for quality Automatic Power Factor Correction Panels in Kenya, search no further.

Our highly trained and experienced engineers assess your exact Power Factor Correction requirements and make sustainable recommendations.

We use various methods such as your recent electricity bill or energy audit to determine how much more you are paying.

After the assessment, our team will design and install a PFC system that meets your needs.

Contact Us Today or send us an email to info@pidystems.co.ke for free technical advice on your power consumption and Surcharge penalties.

One Reply to “Surcharge by KPLC and Power Factor Correction”

  1. It was great working with PID Systems Engineering. I now understand why we’ve been paying high bills on electricity due to Surcharge. Our PF has been below 0.9 which we were not even aware of. With PF improved to 0.99, We project savings which might run into millions of Kenya Shillings at the end of this year alone .

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