Champion Car Wash

This graph shows the savings at two car wash facilities. Site one's electric bill was averaging 6.06% of gross sales and site two was averaging 5.48% of gross sales. After THE POWERHOUSE was installed site one saw a 34% savings in electricity and site two saw a 48% savings.

New Hope Church

The customer's rate charge was $0.09395 kWh for October through December 2010 and January 2011. During the same corresponding months a year later the customers rate charge was reduced by the utility to $0.0731 kWh. To show the savings we will compare the kWh from 2010 to 2011.

Demand charge is veryimportant as it reflects the Power Factor charge. No matter what you pay in kilowatt dollar rate, this is a direct correlation to the kilowatts consumed. Since the Black Hawk Power Saver improves the Power Factor number there is a direct reduction in the demand power charges.


This test was performed on a restaurant franchise chain of 5 stores. THE POWERHOUSE 208/240 was installed on 1 of the stores and the other 4 were used as control subjects. As the stores monthly volume increases, the electric bills increased as well. As we can see the store front with THE POWERHOUSE installed consistently ran under normal ratio of electric bill to sales volume. These stores are within a 60 mile radius of each other which removes the weather variable on the stores electricity consumption. THE POWERHOUSE is greatly decreasing the electric bills of this customer not to mention the other benefits of the Powerhouse.

3 Separate 14 day tests @ KFC --- (7 days on / 7 days off)

5 Store Chain - Sales vs Elcectric Bill --- August 2010

5 Store Chain - Sales vs Elcectric Bill --- September 2010

General Electric (GE)

The following tests were conducted by General Electric (GE).

During a GE conducted study at a KFC franchise, with THE POWERHOUSE Unit turned on for a period of 1 hour a 2.64 percent decrease in Apparent Power was realized.


At the same KFC franchise, with THE POWERHOUSE Unit turned on for a period of 1 hour a decrease of 2.78 percent in total current used was realized.

Grand Trunk Leisure and Fitness Center

Review of Equipment Trial

Blackhawk Power Conditioner

City of Edmonton

Grand Trunk Leisure and Fitness Centre

July 2013


Executive Summary

A trial of the Blackhawk power conditioner was conducted at the Grand Trunk Leisure

and Fitness Centre, with the cooperation of the City of Edmonton, during the month of

July 2013.


The unit was found to reduce energy consumption by an average of 350 kW.h per day

resulting in an estimated reduction of 127,750 kW.h consumed per year. Associated

CO2 emissions reductions are 115 tonnes annually. The Blackhawk installation has an

estimated simple payback of 1.6 years and a ten year 61% return on investment.


Benefits associated with equipment longevity are noted as being significant, but are not

included in the economic analysis.


Analysis of the results also suggests that the unit installed may be undersized for the

kVAR inductance of the facility. As a special note, some City facilities may be on rate

DAS-MC, which charges based on peak kilo Volt Ampere (kVA) demand. The

economics of the Blackhawk power conditioner would be further improved when used

on these facilities.



Gray Energy Economics Inc. has been retained to review the results of a trial of a

Blackhawk power conditioner installed at Grand Trunk Leisure and Fitness Centre,

13025 112 St, Edmonton, AB. The facility combines a swimming pool, water slides, hot

tub and other aquatic features with a large fitness facility, gymnasiums, offices and

meeting facilities.


The trial consisted of installation of a 35 kVAR Blackhawk power conditioner and

comparison of energy consumption with the unit on and off. The Blackhawk power

conditioner, among other things, provides capacitance to the building electric system,

balancing inductance and improving the building power factor.


Data and Methodology

Data analysis was conducted on hourly kW.h (hourly energy), kW (peak kilowatt

demand) and kVA (peak kilo volt ampere demand) for the period July 1, 2013 to July 31,

2013 from meter data provided by the City and read by EPCOR. The Blackhawk power

conditioning unit was on during the period July 1 to hour 12 of July 22.


Two methods were used to evaluate the data provided, for the purpose of determining

the effect of operation of the Blackhawk power conditioner on energy consumption,

power factor and kVA demand:


1 Load duration comparison: The largest determinant of energy consumption is the

 pattern of usage of the electrical equipment in the facility. In order to isolate the

 effect of the Blackhawk power conditioner on energy consumption, two large

 sub-samples of data were selected with matching days of the week, one

 sub-sample with the Blackhawk on and one with it off. The sample data was

 re-ranked from highest energy consumption hour to lowest energy consumption

 hour to derive the load duration curve for each sub-sample.


2. Regression analysis: In order to normalize the sample data for weather and to

 isolate the effect of the Blackhawk power conditioner, a multivariate regression

 analysis was performed using three formulations of temperature data and a

 dummy variable for Blackhawk operation.



Load Duration Comparison

The two largest data-subsets with matching days of the week were Tuesday, July 2 to

Wednesday July 10, 2013 and Tuesday July 23, 2013 to Wednesday July 31, 2013.

Statutory holiday, July 1, 2013, was excluded from all analysis.


                                                 With Blackhawk           Without Blackhawk     Difference     Percentage

Total Energy Consumption                       49042                        51156                    2114         4.13%

Average Hourly                                           227                            237                          10           4.13%

Min                                                               136                            125                         -11          -8.73%

Max                                                               296                            289                           -7          -2.52%

Without adjusting for temperature, the reduction in consumption attributable to the

Blackhawk power conditioner is estimated by this method at 235 kW.h per day.


Regression Analysis for Weather Normalization

In order to correctly separate the effects of ambient temperature on building cooling

requirements and the operation of the Blackhawk power conditioner, the hourly energy

consumption at the facility was used as the dependent variable in all linear regression

models, with daily cooling degree days and a dummy variable for operation of the

Blackhawk unit as independent variables. For July 22, 2013, the dummy variable value was set to 0.5 for 1/2 day of operation.


Three formulations were evaluated:


1 Daily energy consumption vs. same day cooling degree days and Blackhawk

 dummy variable


2 Daily energy consumption vs. prior day cooling degree days and Blackhawk dummy variable

3 Daily energy consumption vs. average of same and prior day cooling degree

 days and Blackhawk dummy variable


Model 3, using a moving average of the current and prior cooling degree days was the

best fit model, with the following results:


Daily Energy Consumption   Constant       Cooling Degree Days             Blackhawk

Estimate                                       5550.4                                  150.6                     -350.4

Variance                                         107.7                                    60.0                      183.5

Statistically Significant                      Yes                                     Yes                         Yes


This method indicates that the effect of the Blackhawk power conditioner is a reduction

of 350.4 kW.h per day, temperature normalized. This is a reduction of 6.2% in energy

consumption for the facility.


Using the temperature adjustment factor of 150.6 kW.h/day consumption per cooling

degree day (2 day average), one can also adjust the previous estimate for savings

derived from the sub-samples.


Comparing the two sub-sample periods, cooling degree days totaled 22.5 during the

period when the Blackhawk was operating, and 5.5 when it was not operating. The

difference of 17 degree days between the sample periods would add another 2560.2

kW.h or 284.6 kW.h per day to the savings attributable to the Blackhawk over the nine

day sample periods. Adding this to the estimate of 235 kW.h per day savings from the

sub-sample analysis totals 519 kW.h savings per day.


As the regression analysis explicitly accounts for temperature difference and is

statistically the best, linear, unbiased estimate of the underlying parameters, the

estimate of 350.4 kW.h per day savings is used for subsequent economic analysis. The

higher value determined by adjusting the sub-sample analysis corroborates and

validates this estimate as conservative and reasonable.


Energy Conclusion

After adjusting for differences in cooling degree days over the sample periods, the

Blackhawk power conditioner is estimated to have saved 350.4 kW.h per day of

operation. Extending these savings for one year, annual energy savings are estimated

to be 127,750 kW.h. At 900 kg of CO2 produced per 1,000 kW.h (1 MW.h) of Alberta electricity generation, greenhouse gas reductions associated with this installation are estimated to be 115 tonnes per year.


Economic Evaluation

The facility is served by EPCOR Distribution on rate DAS-TOU applicable to commercial

or industrial facilities using between 150 and 5,000 kVA. This rate uses peak kW to

determine demand charges and an on-peak charge per kW.h of $0.00854.


The rate paid for electric energy has not been provided, but is estimated at $0.075 per

kW.h. Estimating that 60% of energy consumed is on-peak, the effective rate per kW.h

is $0.08124.


Annual savings from use of the Blackhawk power conditioner at the facility are

estimated to be $10,378. The installed cost of the unit was $16,805. Simple payback on

the device is 1.6 years. The 10 year rate of return on investment is estimated to be



No estimate of improvements to equipment life have been included in this estimate. In

the author’s experience, extended equipment life is a significant factor in power factor

correction investments.



David Gray BA,MBA,MM

President, Gray Energy Economics Inc.

August 27, 2013

Power Factor Correction

Back to Basics: What does Power Factor Mean and Why Must We Correct it?

February 4, 2013

Today’s commercial, industrial, retail and even domestic premises are increasingly populated by electronic devices such as PCs, monitors, servers and photocopiers which are usually powered by switched mode power supplies (SMPS). If not properly designed, these can present non-linear loads which impose harmonic currents and possibly voltages onto the mains power network.
Harmonics can damage cabling and equipment within this network, as well as other equipment connected to it. Problems include overheating and fire risk, high voltages and circulating currents, equipment malfunctions and component failures, and other possible consequences.
A non-linear load is liable to generate these harmonics if it has a poor power factor. Other loads can present poor power factors without creating harmonics. This post looks at these issues, the circumstances that can lead to damaging harmonic generation, and practical approaches to reducing it.

The two causes of poor power factor

At the simplest level, we could say that an electrical or electronic device’s power factor is the ratio of the power that it draws from the mains supply and the power that it actually consumes. An ‘ideal’ device has a power factor of 1.0 and consumes all the power that it draws. It would present a load that is linear and entirely resistive: that is, one that remains constant irrespective of input voltage, and has no significant inductance or capacitance. Fig. 1. shows the input waveforms that such a device would exhibit. Firstly, the current waveform is in phase with the voltage, and secondly both waveforms are sinusoidal.

Input voltage and current waveforms for a device with PF = 1.0

Fig 1: Input voltage and current waveforms for a device with PF = 1.0

In practice, some devices do have unity power factors, but many others do not. A device has a poor power factor for one of two reasons; either it draws current out of phase with the supply voltage, or it draws current in a non-sinusoidal waveform. The out of phase case, known as ‘displacement’ power factor, is typically associated with electric motors inside industrial equipment, while the non-sinusoidal case, known as ‘distortion’ power factor, is typically seen with electronic devices such as PCs, copiers and battery chargers driven by switched-mode power supplies (SMPSs). We shall look briefly at the displacement power factor before moving on to the distortion case, which is of more immediate concern to electronic power system designers. However it is important to be aware of both cases. For example, some engineering courses discuss the power factor issue only in terms of motors, which causes confusion when their students later encounter poor power factor as exhibited by an SMPS.

Electric motors and displacement power factor problems

Electric motors create powerful magnetic fields which produce a voltage, or back emf, in opposition to the applied voltage.  This causes the supply current to lag the applied voltage. The resulting out of phase current component cannot deliver usable power, yet it adds to the facility’s required supply capacity and electricity costs. Fitting capacitors across motors reduces the phase lag and improves their power factor.

- See more at:

White Paper

Powerhouse White Paper

Prepared by Mark Ware

Ohm Energy Technologies



When installed at a Main Distribution Panel (MDP), the Powerhouse levels, boosts, and maintains voltage on all phases of a wye system that uses a neutral.  Below are definitions of some terms which are utilized throughout this paper:

  • Inductive Load – any load requiring a magnetic field to operate (motors, inductive capacitors, gaseous tube lighting ballasts, transformers, inductive furnaces, fans, relays, solenoids, and chillers).  Inductive loads draw a large amount of current (inrush current) when first energized, then decrease after a few cycles to a full-load current.
  • Non-Inductive Load (Resistive Load) – any load not containing capacitance or induction such as incandescent lighting or electrical heaters, ovens, burners and toasters.  The current instantly attains its steady-state level without first rising to a higher level.
  • Reactive Power – the power required to start and maintain a magnetic field in an inductive load.  Although reactive power is necessary in operation, it does not provide real work (kW) and is eventually passed through the neutral line to ground.  This is measured in kilovolt-amperes-reactive (kVAr).
  • Real Power (kW) – the actual work an inductive and resistive load performs, as opposed to kVAr which does not perform actual work.  Utilities bill by the KW and sometimes penalize on the amount of kVAr.
  • Apparent Power (kVA) – measured in kilovolt-amperes, is the sum of kW + kVAr.  It is the total power supplied to an MDP.
  • Power Factor – a ratio of real power (kW) and apparent power (kWA):  kW/kVA.  This is a measure of efficiency.  The highest power factor desired is 100% or 1.  A number less than 1 indicates inefficiencies within the load.  A power factor or 0.80, or 80%, indicates an inefficiency of 20%.  Inductive loads lead to a much lower power factor because of the non-working power needed to maintain their magnetic fields.  Non-inductive or resistive loads approach 100% efficiency.

Problem:  Power, as supplied by the utilities, can be fraught with issues even before the consumer is able to utilize it.  These can include blackouts, brownouts, line harmonics due to electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), and issues due to sudden spikes in up-line or downline use.  Inside the facilities, power surges, spikes and sags create undue disruption and wear and tear on any motors, chillers, lights, and electrical devices (computers, TVs, outlets, UPS equipment, digital displays, rectifiers, relays, breakers, switches, monitors, etc.).  Temporary disruptions (brownouts) or more long-term outages (blackouts) don’t necessarily cause problems or damage when the system is down or off, but most likely create a spike as well as sages when suddenly energized or turned on.  This alone is the greatest cause of equipment failure.

Low power factor creates more heat for the inductive load because more current (heat) is needed to make up for the inefficiencies of the load.  Even though the damage can occur over a longer period of time, excessive heat, in the form of current is detrimental and destructive to motors.  Higher power factor will help with efficiency and increase the longevity of motors by reducing the heat (current) greatly.

Harmonics occur when voltage and current are not in phase with one another in relationship to their respective sine waves.  Measured as total harmonic distortion (THD), harmonics are merely a byproduct of nonlinear load.  Examples of nonlinear loads are battery chargers, adaptors, fluorescent lamps (because of the choke coil), LEDs, electronic ballasts, variable frequency drives (VFDs), rectifiers, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), switching mode power supplies (SMPS), photocopiers, personal computers, laser printers, and fax machines.  However, in a linear load, both voltage and current follow one another without distortion to their pure sine waves.  Examples of linear loads are resistive heaters, incandescent lamps, and constant speed induction and synchronous motors.

Effects:  The consumer ultimately pays the price in many ways:

  1.  Most utilities penalize commercial users who operate with low power factor (usually under 0.9) in the form of demand charges.  If it is not labeled as such on a power bill, this may be disguised as a “fee”.
  2. Maintenance cost of equipment can account for a company’s greatest expense.  Reduction of heat (current) and higher efficiency (power factor) can reduce or significantly defer maintenance costs.
  3. Most power systems can accommodate a certain level of harmonic currents but will experience problems when harmonics become a significant component of the overall load. As these higher frequency harmonic currents flow through the power system, they can cause a plethora of problems, including:
  • Communication errors
  • Overheating and damage to hardware
  • Overheating of electrical distribution equipment (cables, transformers, standby generators, etc.)
  • High voltages and circulating currents caused by harmonic resonance
  • Equipment malfunctions due to excessive voltage distortion
  • Increased internal energy losses in connected equipment causing component failure and shortened life span
  • False tripping of circuit breakers
  • Metering errors
  • Fires in wiring and distribution systems
  • Generator failures
  • Lower system power factor, resulting in penalties on monthly utility bills


Solution:  The Powerhouse addresses these issues through its use of a patented coupling of electronic components working in concert to capture and recycle reactive power (kVAr) for its reuse. Its unique wiring configuration (Patent #8971007) allows these components to redirect the kVAr to either a capacitive or distributive function as needed within a facility’s power grid.  An array of 18 Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs), each rated at 50 kA, act as surge arresters through a series of internal diodes and resistors. The Powerhouse’s patented wiring configuration allows the MOVs to redirect the many spikes in voltage a facility experiences on a daily basis to a series of fluid-filled capacitors for eventual upsurges in power consumption within a facility. Additionally, the wiring configuration allows for the neutral to be utilized as a secondary power source and is connected inside the Powerhouse so that it can be redirected in a capacitive or distributive function. In this way, the Powerhouse treats the neutral as a “phase D” within a three-phase system, it is for this reason alone that the Powerhouse can only operate within a wye and not a delta system, since the delta does not use a neutral. Also, a delta system generally has a “high leg”, making it impractical, if not impossible, to balance voltage between the phases. The constant and consistent “back and forth” between the MOVs and the capacitors keeps the voltage between the phases boosted, leveled and maintained at all times no matter the load, sudden or otherwise, within a facility’s grid. Similarly, the Powerhouse protects against spikes or surges when the grid is suddenly energized after a power brownout of blackout. For added protection, a secondary surge protector within the Powerhouse protects the grid for up to 50,000 volts.

When the neutral is utilized within the Powerhouse, a unique effect occurs.  All values for kW, kWh, kVA, Amperes and kVAr are lowered in a pronounced way.  Conversely, power factor increases to typically between 0.95 and 0.99, and voltage increases and remains level in all phases. These effects are confirmed by repeated on/off power logger data tests, and in various independent studies performed by General Electric, Applied Research Laboratories, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

What sets the Powerhouse apart from all other manufacturers of power factor correction equipment is this meaningful drop in kW or kWh.  Equipment and lighting within a facility still operate at the kW that they are rated for (as inductive and resistive loads are always going to run true to their rated kWs).  The Powerhouse’s ability to recycle the kVAr slows the kVA draw from the supply sides (utility). This causes the appearance of a kW drop within the facility which will be reflected on the consumer power bill.  This is the “exception to the rule” when it comes to power correction equipment.

The Powerhouse also eliminates about 80% of the harmonics, which is usually the greatest concern of energy managers and electrical engineers of any facility.  The increasing use of VFDs and USPs in facilities leads to the increasing need to address problems associated with harmonics.  The Powerhouse solves these issues.

Summary:  In order to determine the health of a facility’s power grid, power data loggers are necessary to get an overall picture (typically 24 hours) of a facility’s habits in power usage, as well as all the values related to that use.  Based upon those values, a capacitor bank is carefully calculated for the proper size to ensure adequate return of kVAr as fed to the capacitors by the neutral and MOVs.  Voltage between the phases are balanced, boosted, leveled and maintained at all times. Power factor is corrected to an ideal 95-98% and will result in the reduction in demand charges and the elimination of the associated penalties.  KW is decreased enough to significantly lower power bills since utilities generally charge by the kW or kWh.  Induction loads run up to 30-40% cooler and operate more efficiently.  Harmonics are mostly eliminated and will no longer pose a problem to a facility.

With over 600 units installed and more being installed daily, the Powerhouse is proving itself in a wide variety of settings:  restaurants, hotels and convention centers, mines, lumber mills, industrial processing plants, grocery stores, colleges and school systems.  The Department of Defense has completed testing of the Powerhouse and has accepted its technology for their military bases.  The Powerhouse is truly a “one device fits all” for all power conditions.