I am sure there are capacitors installed somewhere around, I have never really noticed them. In many areas around me electric distribution is underground (US DOE, 2014);
Con Edison serves about 3.3 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in New York City and surrounding areas, operates more than 700 MW of electric generation, and manages an electric distribution system that is 86% underground.
I remember going over this topic in theory for power in AC circuits. Other than that exposure, and a general knowledge of electricity, I have no other experience.
The electrical engineering text from theory offered some interesting notes on the reactive power flow and power-factor correction (Hambley, 2014);
The power flow back and forth to inductances and capacitances is called reactive power. Reactive power flow is important because it causes power dissipation in the lines and transformers of a power distribution system.
I feel like this explanation short cuts this weeks readings. Although I found it fairly difficult to perform circuit analysis with phasors and complex impedances, the subject was very interesting. Other than protecting the distribution system, power factor is not taken into account in charging consumers at residential rates. Industrial consumers likely pay attention to this difference between real and apparent power. Hambley offered a note on the effects seen in distribution systems and why industrial consumers may wish to increase their power factor by placing capacitors in parallel with inductive loads (Hambley, 2014);
In heavy industry, many loads are partly inductive, and large amounts of reactive power flow. This reactive power causes higher currents in the power distribution system. Consequently, the lines and transformers must have higher ratings than would be necessary to deliver the same average power to a resistive load. Energy rates charged to industry depend on the power factor, with higher charges for energy delivered at lower power factors … A common approach is to place capacitors in parallel with an inductive load to increase the power factor.
Apparently as part of Con Edison’s smart grid upgrade they have installed a number of capacitors on poles (US DOE, 2014);
A large portion of Con Edison’s overhead 4kV distribution grid will be modernized at the completion of this subproject, with many feeders equipped with capacitors and automated controls … Installations include a combination of fixed and switchable pole-mounted capacitors. Con Edison has installed 416 distribution capacitors on the 4 kV system (71.5 MVAR), and 33 distribution capacitors on the 13 KV system (10.5 MVAR).
My new pastime will be hunting a pole with these mounted on it.
Using smart grid technologies to modernize distribution infrastructure in New York. (August, 2014). U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE). [PDF File]. Retrieved from https://www.smartgrid.gov/files/Using-SmartGrid-Technologies-Modernize-Distribution-Infrastructure-New-York.pdf
Hambley, A. R. (2014). Electrical engineering: Principles and applications (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
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