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OFGEM Report Reaffirms Risks for Fixed Voltage Reduction Equipment

In its latest Electricity Capacity Assessment Report, the industry regulator OFGEM has reaffirmed that the National Grid may have to reduce the voltage of its supply network in the event of a severe reduction in capacity margins. The measure would be implemented if the new balancing services announced by OFGEM failed to reduce the demand sufficiently.

Although a reduction in voltage would not cause problems for most users, for example causing the lights to dim, it would have major implications for companies that have installed fixed voltage reduction equipment to save energy.

"With fixed voltage reduction, a drop in the supply voltage can have serious consequences for susceptible electrical equipment," according to Martin Ward, managing director of Claude Lyons. "However, this is not an issue with automatic mains voltage stabilisers, which always keep their output at the desired level."

Voltage reduction devices are frequently used by industry to save costs and energy. They are particularly effective in the UK, since although the UK mains voltage is a nominal 230 V, in practice it is typically above 240 V, which is unnecessarily high for equipment designed for continental European markets. For many types of equipment this leads to a waste of power and can reduce equipment lifetimes.

Claude Lyons is a leading manufacturer of automatic mains voltage stabilisers, which provide a constant output voltage irrespective of supply voltage or load. Claude Lyons Energy Saving Stabilisers incorporate a motorised variable transformer, which combined with a sensor unit, ensures the output is held at the specified value. They are sometimes referred to as mains voltage regulators or line conditioners.

OFGEM's new Electricity Capacity Assessment Report can be found at:

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