Power Factor – Are you installing the right tools for the job?

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Power Factor - Are you installing the right tools for the job?

Posted 16 July 2019 by Chris Hargreaves

In the electrical industry, Power Factor is widely known as a bit of a dark art. Over the last few years, advances in technology have brought new types of correction systems to the market along with a range of off the shelf cheap products that can be ordered online and promise the world but deliver little. The below paper was written by Allan Ramson (NZCE, BEng, MBT), General Manager of kVArCorrect Ltd and provides an insight into the pros an cons of active versus passive power factor correction for different applications. For a full copy of this paper please click here. History...
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Business at the Speed of Light - Podcast with David Spratt

Posted 20 May 2019 by David Spratt

Recently David recorded a podcast as part of Umbrellar's Key Technology Hub series. The podcast covers a wide range of topics including: The business reasons Cloud computing is now the norm rather than the exception The business impact of SaaS, PasS and IaaS services “doing business at the speed of light” The cost, consumption and spend issues around a variable cost IT model Changes to the way IT teams are structured in a cloud environment The critical role of partnerships in running and optimising cloud...
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Can New Zealand Electrify Industry?

Posted 20 May 2019 by Chris Hargreaves

The Government has set a target for New Zealand’s economy to be net-zero emissions by 2050. Does our current approach stack up? Methanex - adding 15% to national electricity demand? In a recent submission to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Methanex, New Zealand’s largest single gas user suggested that should the company transition from gas-based manufacturing of methanol to electricity, this would increase New Zealand's national electricity demand by around 15% (5,800 gigawatt-hours). In other words, there would be a Rio Tinto Aluminum Smelter-sized...
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New Zealand electricity prices: so high and still rising

Posted 9 May 2019 by David Spratt

When we look at New Zealand electricity prices, it is important to consider lines companies in the equation. The lines company or electricity distribution business (EDB) operates and maintains the transformers, power poles and copper wires that keep our local electricity networks running and delivering reliable electricity to the door. Examples in the EMA membership region are Northpower, Vector, Counties Power, WEL Networks and Powerco. Lines companies in your power bill Take my last home bill. The energy component, which is the part provided by my retailer, was $184.76. This part...
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Energy Price Review - arguments against electricity pricing

Posted 1 May 2019 by David Spratt

In 2009 a visiting expert on commodity studies from Stanford University, Professor Frank A Wolak, opined that each year New Zealand’s electricity consumers were paying around $700 per household more than they should. This figure also applied to the tens of thousands of small businesses using small amounts of electricity. What followed was a studied silence from the industry. Government's Energy Price Review In April 2018 after years of consumer electricity prices continuing to rise at a rate far exceeding inflation, the Minister of Energy and Resources appointed Miriam R Dean...
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Sympathies for Christchurch

Posted 21 March 2019 by Richard Gardiner

Like the one third of a million Kiwis who were born in the UK, our family was drawn here in the first place by the beauty of New Zealand, its down to earth friendly culture and reputation for freedom and tolerance for all. 26 years later we all feel the same way! Our business has staff born in New Zealand, Brazil and the UK. We are all united by being Kiwis! The barbaric mass murder of innocent Muslims in Christchurch last Friday does not define us. It is the exception to the rule not the rule itself. This atrocity was committed by a pathetic misfit who has no place in our...
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Electricity spot pricing – rip off or reasonable?

Posted 4 March 2019 by David Spratt

 [Electricity] Demand has, year on year, been steadily rising. This trend is likely to continue, so don’t look for much relief from higher electricity prices in the near term. I recently talked to a businessperson who had signed up to an electricity contract that had his company effectively speculating on the spot market. What the company didn’t realise (and wasn’t told) was that playing the electricity spot market was fraught with upside cost risk. In their case they are now paying more than three times the standard retail electricity rate for business, and facing significant...
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Hardworking and efficient hybrid SUV - Mitsubishi XLS SUV PHEV Review

Posted 10 February 2019 by David Spratt

Warning! Formidable Japanese electric vehicles (EVs) are coming to a dealer near you this year. After reviewing European and American EVs last year, I was offered the Mitsubishi XLS SUV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to test during my holiday break. The XLS currently retails at $50,990 plus on-road costs (NZD). This puts it right in the sweet spot for businesses looking for a workhorse, four-wheel drive SUV. Unlike two years ago when high prices and low residuals were a real turnoff for businesses, electric and hybrid SUVs are now in high demand on the second-hand market, and...
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What does a risk-free cloud migration look like?

Posted 8 February 2019 by David Spratt

The below article was published recently in IT Brief New Zealand magazine. The -aaS consumption model is nothing new when it comes down to brass tacks - it's exactly how we've been consuming electricity ever since Edison and Tesla were squabbling. Over the last 130 or so years, electricity consumption has risen and with it, the cost. This is why Total Utilities stepped in to help businesses in New Zealand ensure that their power costs were being thoughtfully managed through analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. Now, the team at Total Utilities have brought their...
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The Power Plant Next Door

Posted 15 January 2019 by Chris Hargreaves

Throughout history technological advancement and change that has lasting impacts on humanity has largely come about through critical mass. As a child, I distinctly remember visiting a friends house and seeing their newly installed solar PV system on the roof. 25 years ago, this seemed like the future as I had only seen photos of such things in books about NASA and science fiction. While some technologies are adopted quickly into day to day life, it seems to be taking an age for solar systems to become common place. Obviously cost is major driver of this but then so too is how seamlessly...
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