Electric power control (EPC) is a term used to identify the many different strategies and equipment that are utilized to allocate, convert, and modulate the flow of electrical current. The idea behind EPC is to engage technology as a tool to help control the quality, voltage, and distribution of electrical current to best advantage, effectively helping to minimize the potential for overload or damage to any of the circuitry that is designed to carry power loads from lines to devices that rely on the current for operation. Effective electric power control makes it possible to operate everything from household appliances to major plant facilities with relative safety to both the machines in use and the people who operate those machines.
The exact nature of the devices used as part of an electric power control effort will vary, based on the amount of voltage involved and the size of the overall operation. Some methods will call for the inclusion of equipment that will aid in converting the energy received from a power source into levels that will be sufficient to power certain devices, but not overload the circuitry in those devices. Other strategies may include fail-safe measures that make it possible to automatically shut down power flow in the event of a power surge or some other anomaly that could trigger some sort of catastrophic situation. Still others equipment used in electric power control is aimed at maintaining the integrity of the flow of current, meaning that there are no fluctuations that could damage circuits and cause overheating or some other type of damage to electrical wiring and devices.
Various approaches to electric power control are used in the configuration of power grids and the power companies that operate on those grids. These include way stations and facilities along the grid that monitor power flow and integrity, and aid in re-routing power supplies when and as portions of the grid are inoperable for a period of time. This activity helps to reduce the incidence of power outages to facilities that are considered a priority, such as hospitals and other operations that are connected with public safety and health.
Commercial buildings and residences will also often include at least a few options for electric power control, including transformers and converters that help to moderate power flow through the buildings. In many cases, switches that can be set to operate automatically or allow for manual activation are included, making it possible to shut down power to the building in the event of an emergency. With most applications, the ultimate goal of any form of electric power control is to allow for the most efficient use of electrical energy while also providing a means of protecting the welfare of those who work with and around electrical facilities and devices.