LONDON May 30 Britain's electricity network
operator National Grid is surveying soccer fans and
analysing data to make sure it can respond to an expected surge
in demand when UK viewers of the World Cup brew their
traditional cup of half-time tea.
Electricity demand typically rises sharply after major
events or following the climax of a popular tv programme when a
large number of viewers collectively return to everyday
business, including power-consuming habits such as switching on
lights, computers - or the kettle.
The grid operator needs to forecast demand and supply as
precisely as it can to prevent blackouts, which can result from
sudden surges placing a big strain on the electricity network.
Britain has seen huge jumps in electricity consumption
during past football games, with highest ever spike of 2,800
megawatts - equivalent to 1.1 million kettles - recorded after
England lost the 1990 World Cup semi-final penalty shootout
against West Germany.
Whether Brits will top the 24-year old record during this
year's Brazil competition will depend on how far England make it
through the tournament as late-stage games will attract bigger
audiences, National Grid said.
"We'll be working throughout the tournament to make sure
electricity supply and demand is balanced. It's vital we line up
reserve generation to power up when it is needed," said John
Young, energy forecasting analyst at National Grid.
National Grid are now quizzing British soccer fans about
their match viewing habits, asking whether late kick off times
would affect their watching patterns or where they expected to
watch certain England games.
"We've been looking closely at historic data from previous
tournaments, but we want to hear from football fans across the
country to find out how and where they will watch the big
games," Young said.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Sophie Walker)