kVA Review: Does your business need one?

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If your business is on a Half Hourly (HH) meter, you may need a kVA review to help you fully understand your kVA allowance and usage. Determining the right kVA capacity for your business isn’t a straightforward process. So, here’s Flame Energy’s guide to kVA reviews to answer all your questions about kVA reviews.

What is kVA capacity?

Your kVA capacity or allowance is the maximum amount that your meter can draw from the grid in every half hour interval without receiving an excess charge in kVA (kilovolt Amps). Effectively, your kVA capacity is how much electricity the grid reserves for your meter. You’ll pay to reserve the electricity and won’t pay any extra if you don’t use all that you’ve reserved. The best kVA level for your business will be just above your maximum demand. This allows for any breathing room in your usage if there are unforeseen circumstances.

Who agrees on the kVA capacity?

Before any site is connected to their Distribution Network, they’ll need to agree on a capacity with their Distribution Network Operator (DNO). This helps to ensure that demand is properly managed throughout the local area.

What happens if a kVA is set too low?

If your site’s kVA is set too low, you’ll likely exceed the agreed capacity. You’re then going to be charged an excess charge for your electricity. These costs can vary dramatically and will be much higher than your usual cost. It can vary anywhere between 47% to 132% higher than your usual kva charge costs. You could also be putting you wiring and electrical appliances under stress.

A susbstation
Someone pressing a button on an energy meter

What happens if your kVA is set too high?

If your kVA is set too high, you’ll end up paying for more capacity than you actually need. You will basically be paying for energy capacity that you will never use. This means you could be paying more per site for your electricity. If you’re running a multi-site business, this is going to drive up your costs dramatically.

When would a business need a kVA review?

There are a variety of reasons why a business would need a kVA review. Most of these stem from changes in usage. For example, if your business has installed a new piece of equipment that requires more kVA to run than the other equipment, you’re probably going to need a kVA review.

Also, if your business has moved into a new premises, it might also be worth reviewing your kVA. Your business might not need a high capacity but the business in the premises before you might have had a high kVA. Therefore, it might be worth reviewing if this is the case for your business.

However, once the capacity is gone, it’s not guaranteed to still be there if you want it back. So, if you’re looking to future proof your business’ kVA capacity or stay in the building for a long time, it’s recommended to leave it high as this can affect the value of the building.

How can I change my kVA capacity?

Our team of experts can help you to apply to the DNO for a reduction in capacity. You’re able to do this twice a year under two specific circumstances. If you’re using significantly less than your capacity, your DNO should reduce it to a level more in line with your usage. The same goes for if you’re exceeding your capacity. You can apply for an increase in your capacity level so that it sits at a more appropriate level. This helps your business avoid Excess Capacity charges.

Contact us

Determining the right kVA capacity for your business can be a complicated process that requires detailed analysis of your energy requirements. Our team of experts can analyse every aspect of your business and potential future to give you the best advice on your kVA capacity. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can support your business.

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