In this paper, covariance behavior of several features (signature identifiers) that are determined from the voltage waveform within a time window for power-quality (PQ) event detection and classification is analyzed. A feature vector using selected signature identifiers such as local wavelet transform extrema at various decomposition levels, spectral harmonic ratios, and local extrema of higher order statistical parameters, is constructed. It is observed that the feature vectors corresponding to power quality event instances can be efficiently classified according to the event type using a covariance based classifier known as the common vector classifier. Arcing fault (high impedance fault) type events are successfully classified and distinguished from motor startup events under various load conditions. It is also observed that the proposed approach is even able to discriminate the loading conditions within the same class of events at a success rate of 70%. In addition, the common vector approach provides a redundancy and usefulness information about the feature vector elements. Implication of this information is experimentally justified with the fact that some of the signature identifiers are more important than others for the discrimination of PQ event types.