Electrical load refers to any device that consume electricity in the form of a current and transforms it into another kind of output, including light, heat, work etc. Load is used to describe either individual devices or a system or site of devices which consume electricity. It is also used to represent the power requirements of a given supply circuit. Electrical load measures the current or power passing through a particular piece of power infrastructure.
Electrical load is split into two broad classifications. The first is the nature of the load, which can be resistive, inductive or capacitive. The second is the load of a given grid or distribution network, including loads such as domestic, commercial, industrial, and agricultural.
Types of Electrical Loads
Resistive Load – resistive load obstructs the flow of electrical energy within a circuit, resulting in excess thermal energy being generated as a by-product of electrical conduction. In some cases, such as with fluorescent bulbs, resistive load is deliberately used to create light. In a resistive load, current and voltage waves remain in the same phase throughout.
Inductive load – Loads that power electrical motors are known as inductive loads. These are common in the majority of electrical appliances with moving parts. Unlike resistive loads, inductive loads have a sine curve current so that maximum and minimum points are out of phase.
Capacitive Loads – Capacitive loads are similar to inductive in that current and voltage are out of phase. The difference is that for a capacitive load, the current reaches its maximum value before the voltage does, rather than in an inductive load where it lags behind it. Capacitive loads do not exist as a stand-alone current, but through the use of capacitors or electrical substations they are used to improve the overall power factor of a system. This offsets the increased costs and reduced efficiency of inductive loads.