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Today's businesses depend heavily on electrical services for lighting, general power, computer hardware and communications hardware. With the generalized use of sophisticated electronic devices, industries are shifting toward almost entirely electronic IT systems. Power-quality events are of increasing concern for the economy because today's equipment, particularly computers and automated manufacturing devices, is highly sensitive to such imperfections. Metering technologies and communications systems have advanced to enable the development of DSP-based sensors. Power Quality is one area where these real-time sensors can be very valuable. This paper investigates the challenges and possibilities in the development of a DSP power-quality event detection algorithm. This is a critical task, since it must be performed on-line and in hard real time. The paper describes the challenges and lessons learned from this investigation.