9 Power Problems

Power Failure

A total loss of utility power. Can be caused by a number of events ; lightning strikes, downed power lines, grid over demands, accidents and natural disasters. Power failure can lead to hardware damage, data loss, or total system crashes.

Power SAG

Short-term input output voltage. Triggered by the startup of large loads, utility switching, utility equipment failure, lightning and power service that’s too small for the demand. Similar to power failures, sags can damage the hardware.

Power surge

These very fast voltage variations are triggered by lightning, line or capacitor switching and disconnection of heavy loads. They destroy electronic components and lead to data processing errors, data loss and electromagnetic interference.


Also termed a brownout, this voltage drop typically lasts from a few minutes to a few hours and is usually caused by overdemand or intentional “throttling” of electricity during peak demand. It can ruin computers and other electronic devices.


Data loss, flickering of screens, and equipment damage are among the consequences of these momentary voltage increases generally caused by starting/stopping of heavy loads, poorly dimensioned power sources, and poorly regulated transformers.

Line noise

Electromagnetic interference or improper grounding most often produce these superimposed high frequency signals on the waveform, resulting in disturbances to sensitive electronic equipment, data loss and data processing errors.

Frequency variation

The loss of stability in a power supply’s normal frequency of 50 Hz or 60 Hz most often results from heavily loaded generators. The problem can cause motors to run faster or slower, leading to inefficiency, excess heat and degradation.

Switching transient

These momentary changes in voltage or current that can damage equipment stem from lightning, switching of loads and capacitor banks, opening and closing of disconnects on energized lines, re-closure operations and tap changing on transformers.

Harmonic distortion

This distortion of the normal power wave is generally transmitted by unequal loads and can result in resonance, overload, and overheating of cables and equipment, among other problems.