What is kVA?

Most of us will be familiar with the use of electricity and that this is typically measured in kWh, MWh, or in some circumstances GWh but to what extent is kVA known within the industry.

What is kVA and how does this impact your business?  The following blog will explain the meaning of kVA, the benefits of reducing or increasing your maximum demands, and what to look out for and consider when introducing EV charging points for example.

Starting with the definition of kVA or Kilo Volt Amperes as known in its full name, it is simply the amount of electrical power that a meter can feed to your site.  You would typically find kVA within the charging structure of your supplier invoices and listed as a maximum available capacity charge.

More commonly found within large Half Hourly commercial properties, kVA is a charge based upon the maximum amount of power used on site.   The maximum demand is set and managed through your contract therefore kVA can be a great first step towards reducing overheads but can also increase costs for example, should you exceed the kVA limited on your site then penalties are applied.  If you use less than your allocation, then you may be paying a premium for a service that is no longer required and can be reduced to suit your current needs.  Careful considering does have to be made when increasing or reducing kVA as there are cost and availability impacts to your business for each.

With KVA, what is important is to consider future changes to the site:

  • Have you outgrown the building and may be considering extending it?
  • Is the property vacant and do you want to make the power availability look attractive to a number of potential tenants with varying power requirements?
  • Are you moving your fleet to electric and require Charging Points on-site?
  • Will solar meet your Net-Zero aspirations & reduce your reliance on the grid?
  • Will occupancy increase/decrease due to covid restrictions?
  • Or will occupancy reduce as we operate a share of Working from Home & office Based?

All of the above factors will have an Impact on your KVA, but let’s think about expanding upon EV Charging and explaining how this could increase costs through your invoice……….

As we all know the Government announced that the sale of petrol and diesel cars cease from 2030. It’s not just a case of going out and purchasing the electric car you need to determine whether your site has kVA capacity to be able to charge your electric car and at the speed, you wish to charge it at.  Three dual chargers can use up to 297A/205 kVA, which is not a small amount of power.  Does your site have this spare capacity?

Your first port of call would be to contact your local Distribution Network (DNO) to help determine whether or not your site has the required capacity to charge your vehicle.  If there is sufficient capacity, no changes will be required. However, if there is not enough capacity available a new connection or upgrade to your current connection will be required, by completing an application process.

When applying for a new electricity connection or upgrade we need to know the kVA requirement.  Many people aren’t aware of what their kVA requirement will be, and people can also get confused between kVA and AMPS.

Below we have included a link you may find helpful in converting AMPS into kVA.

https://www.rapidtables.com/calc/electric/Amp_to_kW_Calculator.html

To find out how much kVA is required have a look at the equipment that will be connected to the electricity supply, the majority of equipment will provide you with this information, or a certified electrician will also be able to help determine the kVA requirement.

At DB Group we have a dedicated Siteworks division that can help you to manage reductions or increases to your kVA with further built-in systems via our bill validations process that will highlight where we may need to review and investigate changes to your kVA.