Coronavirus: Electricity use up during the day as the nation works from home
Household energy consumption increased by up to 30% in the middle of the day, reveals a new analysis of energy companies.
Much of the population works from home and schools have closed, which means that home computers and televisions are busier than ever.
The highest peak is at lunchtime when cooking is added to the energy consumption of working from home.
But overall, the country is actually using less energy due to business closings.
The national grid reports that morning and afternoon electricity demand has fallen by almost 20%. But most of this is due to lower demand from large industrial users such as factories.
At home, where individuals pay, overall demand is on the rise and may reveal some details about our new habits.
Many people no longer go to the office, giving them more time to stay in bed before getting ready for work. Energy suppliers can see it, “lagging behind” the initial demand for electricity.
“Households consume 21% less electricity than usual at 07:30, as fewer people go to work and instead take time to sleep later,” said a Bulb Energy spokesman, based on data from over 2,000 smart meters.
Ovo Energy is achieving similar results from a sample of 230,000 customers.
“Morning routines are less structured and therefore the peak has shrunk by up to 20%, as many people work from home or don’t work at all,” said a spokesman.
Any energy that is saved in the morning is consumed later. Ovo reports an increase of up to 30% in the south and Bulb records an increase of 27%. EDF did not provide figures, but claimed to have seen significantly higher consumption in the middle of the day.
Bulb also says he is seeing a 7% drop in energy consumption between 9pm and 11pm, “suggesting that people also turn off earlier.”
Despite the midday wave, overall domestic demand increased by only a few percentage points rather than drastically increasing – in part due to weekend usage that remains mostly the same.
Ovo says that by “balancing the ups and downs”, he is seeing only an overall 6% increase in domestic consumption. EDF claims to see only a 3% increase.
Bulb said that overall use throughout the week is flat. But he also calculated its weekday usage separately – and said it rose 17% between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Over the weekend, electricity consumption actually decreased by 3%, which attributes to warmer weather.
The use of gas is also not showing any obvious increase in demand, as many people use it for central heating and the blockage coincided with the warmer climate.
Despite those small overall numbers, energy bills may rise for some more than others. Professionals who use power-hungry computer equipment or share families with many people may see their bills rise.
In March, the government has agreed on an agreement with energy suppliers support those who may have difficulty paying their bills during the crisis, which has left many people out of work.
“With millions of people staying home, our energy bills are likely to increase as we use more gas and electricity,” says Guy Anker, deputy director of the financial site MoneySavingExpert.com.
“So with limited money for so many, it makes it even more imperative to reduce usage where possible and also to cut bills by abandoning cheated rates.”
Switching from a standard rate could save up to £ 350 per year, and using one of the many price comparison sites available should take only five minutes.
“Your supply is not interrupted as part of the process, while no one visits your home unless you want or need smart meters – even if installations are paused for now, so it’s not a problem during the lockout . ”