Power factor correction pilot project

Ergon Energy is undertaking a power factor pilot project with nearly 30 major business and industrial customers in and around Toowoomba.

The aim of the Queensland Government funded project is to use incentive payments to reduce peak demand by a total 4.7 MVA, with subsequent customer savings and carbon emissions reduction.

Ergon Energy has been investing in demand management for many years through initiatives such as Power Factor correction, which is used to reduce the electrical current drawn from appliances.

Improving the power factor of appliances such as motors and other equipment at individual premises will help improve energy efficiency both for the customers and for the Ergon Energy network1.

An appliance with a low power factor draws more current from the available power source than an appliance with a high power factor. The aim is to increase the power factor to 0.9 or more, that is, so electricity use is 90-plus per cent efficient.

For Ergon Energy the success of this project can eliminate or defer the need for new infrastructure such as transmission lines, sub-stations and transformers.

The project fact sheet provides more detailed information.

1 Customers are obliged under the Electricity Regulations and the National Electricity Rules to ensure the power factor of an electrical installation complies with legislated requirements.


One of Australia's largest meatworks, the Oakey Abattoir, has now become one of the most energy efficient thanks to Ergon Energy's power factor correction program. Lets take a look.

The Oakey Abattoir west of Toowoomba recently installed power factor correction equipment to increase the efficiency of its machinery.

Power factor correction is used reduce the electrical current drawn by some inefficient appliances.

Ultimately, the idea is designed to delay for the need to build another power line to the plant, saving Ergon Energy around $1 million in associated costs.

(Warren Applegate) “The benefits for the customer are the whole installation can be better utilised, they can put more equipment in without expanding their internal reticulation. For Ergon that's extrapolated, the whole network and supply chain is improved in performance.”

More than 30 businesses in the Toowoomba area are taking part in the $3.1 million power factor pilot project, which aims to reduce peak demand by 4.7 MVA (million volt-amperes).

An appliance with a low power factor - for example some transformers, AC motors or welding equipment, draw more current from the available power source than an appliance with a high power factor.

Therefore, the aim is to maximise the power factor as much as possible at the customer’s premises to make supply as efficient as possible.

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