LsFarm wrote:So in the past, with an analog meter, an electric motor was a bargain? since it's power factor was low,, the meter didn't read it 'correctly'..
and now the 'smart meter' corrects this and charges more , aka my ghost KWHs ??
What I don't get in this, is is the power company actually producing more power than the meter is reading? or is this just another way for the
power company to charge more?
With the old rotary dial induction, non smart meter only the "real" power (power dissipated in a resistive load) could be measured. This was a limit of the meter technology. For residential rate schedules set by your regulating agency the price you pay was adjusted up to include the utilities cost in producing all the power, even though they measured only resistive power (power factor =1)
Yes, the utility company has to generate all the power, it costs them money to do so. Also with low power factors it can harm their equipment and upset the functioning of safety trip circuits.
You need to get the technical specs on your smart meter and determine what it measures, Just KW (kilo watts, resistive power) or also KWR (kilo watt reactive). After you know this you need to know what your state's power regulating agency permits the utility company to charge for. Resistive only, or both and is there premium for low power factor. This premium usually only applies to industrial companies, not residential.
To provide a simple analogy in airplane flying terms. You want to fly from point A to point B. It takes a certain power (fuel consumption), but you have a side wind, it blows you off course. You need to apply more power (greater fuel consumption) to get there. The more power needed is a measure of the ghost (reactive) power. It does you no useful work, getting you to where you want to go, but it costs you. Just like the airplane has to produce the power so does the electric utility company. Obviously it does no one any good. In the past small loads with poor power factors were ignored. Now all regulatory specifications require near unity power factor. Your modern electronics has active power factor correction circuits in it.