International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

News release – 2013 Number 24

Significant impact of power outages and fluctuation

77th IEC General Meeting Open Session addresses the challenges of Power Quality


Geneva, Switzerland / New Delhi, India 2013-10-25 – International leaders in electrotechnical standardization will join with top academics and industry heads today to address the challenges of maintaining a reliable, high quality power supply, at a special Open Session during the IEC 77th General Meeting in New Delhi.



Power Quality – a major issue of today

The “Challenges of Power Quality” forum to be held in New Delhi, will be attended by hundreds of experts in the field of electrotechnology standards. They will hear that insufficient power quality is not only disruptive to those who experience it but it is also very costly to economies, companies and individuals. The sectors most vulnerable to power disturbances are those that most directly rely on electronics, digital and on-line processes – from communications, to healthcare, financial transactions, manufacturing, water and waste management, and more.

The importance of a reliable quality electrical power supply has never been greater than it is today. There is an ever-increasing reliance on new devices and digital communications in both our public and private lives – from personal communications devices such as smart phones and tablets, through to healthcare equipment, the technology that drives business services and industrial processes.


It is in this context that disturbances such as power outages (anywhere from tiny fluctuations to total absence of power for hours or days) and fluctuations that occur with the quality of power (voltage sags or surges, transients and harmonics) have such a major impact on our lives and our economies.


Tools to address Power Quality

There are many different tools available to help address Power Quality issues. Standardization provides the methods to measure quality and helps determine minimum and maximum tolerance levels to protect both industrial and private investment. IEC International Standards address a myriad of power quality aspects such as requirements for cables, fuses, converters, electromagnetic compatibility issues, handling power dips and surges, and integrating renewable energy from wind and solar sources into the grid. The Commission is committed to advancing this work further and one of the subjects in today’s open session will be a system approach to Power Quality.


Note to Editors

Economic cost of Power Quality issues

Disruptions in the digital, manufacturing and essential services have an immediate repercussion on the rest of the economy. Power outages and power quality have a huge economic impact worldwide. A study conducted in 2001 by EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) estimated the impact of power outages on the US economy at up to USD 164 billion a year and up to USD 24 billion for PQ (Power Quality) phenomena, such as surges and sags in voltage, transients and harmonics.


The European Power Quality survey report based on information collected in 2003-2004 from 62 companies, declared that PQ problems cause a financial loss of more than 150 billion Euros per year in the EU-25 countries. In Asia, the size of the economic loss that can be suffered by industry is not well-documented at industry level, however estimates show that it is also a significant figure.


Challenges of Power Quality programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr Klaus Wucherer, IEC President


Key note speaker

Rabindra Nath Nayak, Chairman & Managing Director of Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd.



James E. Matthews III, IEC Vice President and Chairman of SMB


Addressing power quality challenges with a system approach

Richard Schomberg, Convenor of the IEC Systems Evaluation Groups on Smart Grid


Coping with the power quality challenges - China’s practice and experience

Dr Yinbiao Shu, IEC Vice-President and President of State Grid Corporation of China


Tackling power quality issues

Dr Bhim Singh, Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi


Standards for power quality and reliability in developing countries

Mr Paul Johnson, Secretary, South African NC


A new educational prospective based on power quality research

Dr Sivaji Chakravorthy, Professor at Jadavpur University


Media contact

Gabriela Ehrlich
Tel: +41 22 919 02 78
Mob: +41 79 600 56 72
Email:Gabriela Ehrlich
Skype: gabriela.ehrlich


News release 2013-25

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