# How does negative (or export) kVAR and kW affect maximum demand charges?

I am trying to calculate enegy costs using data from an energy meter that provides me with halfhourly data points for the following 4 channels:

• Import kW
• Export kW
• Import kVAr
• Export kVAr

and in particular I want to determine the Maximum Demand (kVA) used in a period to verify municipal bills received. I am using the power triangle to calculate the maximum demand for each halfhourly point and then finding the maximum of those point namely: kVA = sqrt (kW^2 + kVAR^2)

However I am not sure how to treat the import/export channels. I can think of two approaches that makes sense to me:

1. Calculate the kVA using only the import kW and import kVAR since this is what is "imported" from the energy utility and all that is paid for.
2. Calculate the kVA using the net kW and net kVAR (i.e. kW imp - kW exp as well as kVAR imp - kVAR exp) since this is the capacity of the power flow that the utility must be able to handle.

(There are scenarios in which the data point has a reading for both import and export kW - I assume this is becasue in one halfhour there can be a time period during which the site is importing energy followed by a time it is exporting energy)

For most sites it is only the export kVAR channel that influences this, but for sites with solar installations where energy exports are allowed the kVA can be dramatically influenced if the negtaive, export kW is included. I have even seen the scenario where the Maximum kVA would be as a result of the kW exported to the grid in the middle of the day, rather than as a result of energy imported from the grid at any other time.

Just to emphasise, my main interest is finding the "accepted" way to calculate this i.e. how I can expect the utility bill to be calculated by various billing authorities (different municipalities). However, any explantions of the underlying theory of why this is would also be appreciated.

• Read the manual for the meter you are using. Jan 4, 2022 at 12:13
• Read the contract for the supplier you pay for electricity. Demand charges could be only for what you use, or for the highest whether it is import or export... And they can vary according to the time of day. Jan 4, 2022 at 12:16
• @ Solar Mike I haven't been able to find anything in the contract on how to calculate this, they only provide very high level definitions - I was hoping there was an agreed upon way to calculate this. Jan 4, 2022 at 14:33