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Fully charged: Demand for smarter use of electric is on the up

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Paula O’Neill, Andrew Hogan, Alan O Kelly, Nicola Cassidy and Paul Dempsey from Premium Power

Paula O’Neill, Andrew Hogan, Alan O Kelly, Nicola Cassidy and Paul Dempsey from Premium Power

Paula O’Neill, Andrew Hogan, Alan O Kelly, Nicola Cassidy and Paul Dempsey from Premium Power

BY helping make workplaces safer, more efficient and more reliable, Premium Power is generating plenty of success.

Founded in 2001 by father-in-law and daughter-in-law Hugh O'Kelly and Paula O'Neill, the company now employs 18 people and has a client list that includes some of Ireland's biggest users of electrical power and a growing number of independent electricity generators.

"Hugh was an engineer in the ESB and saw a gap in the market for a consultancy that would help companies better manage how they used their power supply. The three things we help our customers with are reliability, efficiency and safety," says O'Neill.

Increasingly, electricity consumers are investing in new technologies to reduce their energy bills, such as on-site power generation facilities and/or the use of devices such as variable speed drives. The down side of these technologies is that they can distort the harmonics of the overall power supply, causing equipment to fail and/or inefficient use of the energy supply (the very problem they were supposed to tackle).

Premium Power can help avoid these problems with the use of systems management software and meters and filters. "A variable speed drive could introduce a lot of harmonics distortion that you might not know about until something went wrong," adds O'Neill.

"We were called in to help a pharmaceutical company that lost a batch of drugs worth €4 million in a systems failure that could have been avoided with a solution that cost a few thousand euro. By improving power quality - helping our customers to match their system load, or system demand, with their energy supply - we can decrease energy consumption by 20pc. For many of our clients, that would be a saving of hundreds of thousands of euro annually."

ACCIDENTS

Lately, Premium Power has also been helping clients avoid arc flash accidents, where high-voltage electricity jumps through the air in a manner similar to lightning, causing a violent explosion accompanied by a massive amount of heat and light.

The company has also developed software called SafeSite to help clients better manage system failures. O'Neill says: "Sixty percent of accidents involving electricity supply happen when people are in reactive mode. Our SafeSite software helps people take the proper precautions before tackling a problem: a proper risk assessment, issuing personal protective equipment, organising permission-to-work tickets, etc."

Premium Power expects to recruit additional engineers this year and to do more overseas work.

"A lot of our pharmaceutical and data centre clients in Ireland are now asking us to do jobs at their plants in Europe. We've even done a few jobs in the Middle East where Irish contractors are becoming very successful in winning deals," says O'Neill.

Go to www.premiumpower.ie

Irish Independent