3rd generation manufacturing company Prendergast Fasteners from Carrara on the Gold Coast are keeping up with changes in the electricity industry, with the help of Energy Systems & Services (ESS) and saving money at the same time.

Nat Prendergast from Prendergast Fasteners had already taken steps within his business to lower their electricity use and improve energy-efficiency, but felt he could do some more.

After repeated power-outages in his own street, Nat had to install a High Voltage (HV) Transformer directly outside his premises at the request of Energex. But he had also heard of a recent scheme by Energex involving Power Factor Correction or PFC, and thought it might be helpful for his business to research and potentially adopt this technology. So he called his friends at Energy Systems & Services to find out more…

When you pay for a latte, the last thing you want is more froth than coffee. The same thing can be said about power. Froth on a latte is like wasted energy.

Power Factor is the ratio between Real Power (kW) and Apparent Power (kVA). It is a measure of how effective incoming power is being used by electrical equipment, and is expressed as a numerical value between zero and one. The higher the Power Factor, the more effective the electrical equipment is being used e.g. a power factor of 0.7 means that 70 per cent of power supplied to the equipment is being used effectively, and 30 per cent is being wasted. This wastage is an unnecessary cost. Ideally your power factor should be as close to one (1.0) as possible to ensure your site is using energy efficiently.

Why is it important to have high Power Factor? Many large businesses are now being charged a kVA tariff instead of a kW tariff. This means that they are being charged for the power supplied (kVA) rather than the power that used (kW). In essence they’re paying for the wasted power supplied. Businesses with low power factor (say 0.7 – 0.9) will be paying additional (kVA) charges for this waste.

What is Power Factor Correction (PFC)? PFC is used to reduce the electrical current drawn from appliances and hence the amount of reactive power required to be sourced from the electricity supplier. Your Power Factor (PF) can be improved by installing Power Factor Correction (PFC) equipment, called Capacitor Banks. Capacitor Banks work to correct energy supply inefficiencies, while also reducing peak demand on the electricity network. This is a relatively low cost solution to reducing your power bill.

So, after learning all this, Nat decided to install a Sinexcel Modular Advanced Harmonic Compensator, essentially the most advanced PFC device on the market today. And it had some remarkable results. The total installation was $8,723 but based on their current charges, ESS estimated they would get an annual saving of $3,934. After installation, a careful re-calculation revealed the savings were going to be even higher, at $5,880 per year, meaning the device would pay for itself in only 18-months.

Prendergast Fasteners supports 25 workers, and uses a lot of technology to get their orders out the door, including nine industrial lathes. For them this is an amazing result. Not only do they save a large amount of money and help their bottom line on a continuous basis but they are also using electricity more efficiently and ultimately, lessening their impact on the environment. A good result all round.