Power Quality

Your Smart Home

No one wants to come home and see every digital clock in the house blinking or finding that the VCR missed recording the last quarter of the big game or a cold dinner in the microwave oven. Until recently, household appliances were simple electromechanical devices, unaffected by small changes in the electric power supply. However, the home electronics revolution, while giving Americans more comfort, choice, and control in their homes than ever before, has generated some problems as well.

Appliances Show New Sensitivity

Once considered high-tech luxuries, electronic devices like VCRs are now as common (and inexpensive) as toasters. Today, almost every home has equipment that depends on sensitive electronic circuits and controls.
Voltage changes that electromechanical appliances tolerate without missing a beat often prove problematic for electronic devices. For example, consider digital clocks. A programmable timepiece provides many conveniences; however, the need to reset every clock in the house after an otherwise invisible voltage fluctuation is irritating. Such power disturbances can not only disrupt your clocks, VCR, and microwave oven, but also products like your personal computer, television, stereo, garage door opener, satellite receiver, home security system, cordless phone, and answering machine.

The Electronic Maze Grows

Even appliances such as ovens, air conditioners, clothes washers, and refrigerators, which once were simple electromechanical devices, are becoming electronic marvels of convenience and efficiency. And new technologies are even being commercialized to allow homeowners to communicate remotely with these appliances through the Internet. Driving the progress are computers that are smaller, faster, less expensive, and increasingly sensitive to power disturbances with each new model.
By the year 2000, electronic devices accounted for half of U.S. electrical demand. This is particularly true in residences where there is a growing reliance on home electronics. The good news is that electricity is still as reliable and high quality as ever. At Hawaiian Electric, our reliability level is about 99.98%, which exceeds the national average of electric utilities. Flip a switch and the lights go on, just as it has for over 100 years. The electric power you receive meets standards far superior to most of the rest of the world. In spite of this fact, the growing number of sensitive devices has led to a new concept: appliance compatibility with the power environment.

In spite of appliance sensitivities, there is good news! There are many simple and inexpensive things you can do to minimize the effects of power disturbances on your home electronics.