How did lockdown effect the UK’s energy consumption

We’ve all spent more time at home than we’d have liked in the last year. Unfortunately, times are (still) unpredictable and while we aren’t able to get out and stretch our legs a bit more, we’re going to be spending even more time at home for the foreseeable – and using more energy. 

There have been a few changes in the way we consume electricity, as a result of Covid-19. People are working from home, homeschooling; so our heating and lights are on more. In fact, domestic energy provider switching data for the first quarter of 2020 shows an increase in customers switching energy providers, year-on-year. 

Looking back at the first quarter of 2020, when the first lockdown was announced, domestic energy consumption increased by 4.5% compared to the same period in 2019 – likely as a result of people working from home from March. 

Plus, due to having more time at home, more people are watching TV, so demand has gone up as a result of that. This meant time spent streaming doubled as 12 million people subscribed to new streaming services. 

The queen’s speech in April was watched by about 24 million people, and Boris Johnson’s speech in May was watched by 27.5 million people. So, of course, we’re all watching our TV and then when it’s finished – as the classic British trope goes – we put the kettle on. 

the effect of lockdown on the UK's energy consumption

Because of the increase in demand for electricity, the way the grid is balanced in terms of supply and demand is having to be rethought.

The margin between what’s generated and what’s being demanded is decreasing and there’s more risk of voltage brownouts and outages. Power Generators and distribution suppliers have got to remodel and make sure they have the capacity and the infrastructure to meet these new requirements.

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