Cheaper doesn’t mean value for money

Last year our NSW team quoted maintenance on Power Factor Correction equipment for a large Sydney shopping centre, we were unsuccessful because the client had received a cheaper price from a large electrical franchise group.

This year we’ve been asked to price it again and they’ve forwarded the report from the franchise group that attended last year. The readings they have recorded largely don’t make sense, they have passed things that are clearly faulty, and made comments like “Programming Issue”. Call me old-fashioned but if someone is there for maintenance on a piece of equipment they should know how to configure it.

We see this time and time again with companies who work in the general electrical space that try to work with specialised equipment that they just don’t have the experience on. The “maintenance” they perform usually amounts to whether the equipment is turned on or not, and has it caught fire or not. There is so much more to these complicated electrical systems that engaging someone who does not understand the equipment runs the risk of failing to identify a potentially serious fault that may be about to occur.

Power Protect don’t do general electrical work. If we receive a call to install a power point in someones home the answer is no. Our service team are qualified electricians so we can do it, but its not what we specialise in so we leave it to those companies that do this work every day.

For this client with PFC equipment we’re discussing now what should be happening during a routine maintenance:

  • A full functional test of each stage including thermographic scan and condition assessment on fuses, contactors, reactors, and capacitors
  • A full check of the programming parameters to ensure it is configured and working correctly, and adjustment of the parameters if required
  • A detailed report provided including an assessment of the condition, performance, and the thermographic images recorded.

While all electricians are technically qualified to open the door on a Power Factor Correction cubicle, most don’t have an appreciation for how these systems work or the knowledge on working with them.

Just because someone can offer a cheaper price for a “maintenance” doesn’t mean they can deliver the same service as a more expensive provider. I implore businesses out there with equipment to maintain to not just look at the dollar figure at the bottom of the quote, but to see what value you’re getting from the service provider and to make sure they specialise in the equipment you need maintained.