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Have you ever heard people talking about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Using too much force where only a little would do is obviously a waste of energy—but it’s something we all do, all the time, where electricity is concerned.


Broadly speaking, voltage is the electrical equivalent of force and we often power electrical appliances and gadgets with far more volts than they actually need. Using an “electric sledgehammer” to crack an electrical nut wastes money as well as energy and can dramatically shorten the life of expensive equipment. If you’re running something like a factory with lots of huge machines powered by electric motors, using too much voltage might be adding an unnecessary 10–20 percent to your electricity bill; multiply that across the whole of the industrial world and you get a big problem that’s bad for the economy and bad for the planet.

One solution is to use voltage optimization equipment, which constantly regulates your electricity supply so you get precisely the voltage you need. Let’s take a closer look at how it works!

The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Remember overvoltage, which we introduced above? If you supply something like a motor with more voltage than it needs, it doesn’t spin any faster: it just wastes the extra energy as heat. Reduce the voltage and you reduce that wasted heat before you reduce the useful energy that turns the motor. In other words, if you run the motor at its ideal, lower voltage, you make it more efficient. The energy you save in this way is energy you’re not drawing from the power supply, so it translates into a financial saving (for you) and an environmental benefit (for the planet). It’s worth remembering that if you run appliances with too much voltage or current, they’ll wear out significantly more quickly. Extending the lives of electrical appliances also translates into financial and environmental benefits

As householders, we don’t mind all this too much; most of us aren’t even aware of the problem. Like me, you’re probably used to having lots of little gadgets (laptops, cellphoneselectric toothbrushes, and so on) all with built-in transformers that convert the ordinary power supply (nominally ~110 volts in North America and ~220–240 volts pretty much everywhere else in the world) to the correct voltage in each case (15 volts for the laptop I’m typing on, for example). And maybe you have surge protectors fitted to a few key appliances (like your computer or your wireless router) to safeguard against spikes and lightning strikes.

If you’re running a business, the mismatch between the voltage you’re supplied with and the voltage you need is much more of an issue: it’s costing you a great deal of money you don’t actually need to spend.

A better solution is to use dedicated voltage optimization equipment that constantly adjusts the voltage from the supply, either increasing or decreasing it so it remains within a narrowly defined band. Devices that do this are called voltage optimizers. They need no maintenance or monitoring and work happily for many years without replacement. They also filter out spikes and harmonics to give a smoother power supply all round.


The payback periods on these products range from as little as 12 to 36 months, making voltage optimisation a sound investment for any organisation in industry or commerce.

Our Power and Energy teams are available to review your requirements – call us 0191 528 2873 on seven days a week to a arrange a free of charge site audit Tenders, specifications or brochures can be sent as attachments to your email ( – we will come back to you within 30minutes.