World Cup run could trigger power surge in Britain

We all know how much the English love a drink. No one knows more, it seems, than Britain’s electricity network.

There are therefore, real concerns during the World Cup. They are apparently bracing  for record-breaking power surges should England do well in the football World Cup. Probably a tall order without Becks, but not unheard of all the same.

A 3,000-megawatt increase – the equivalent to 1.2 million kettles being turned on at the same time – is considered likely if England play must-see matches in the latter stages in South Africa. With viewers heading to the fridge for another beer or the kettle for a hot drink, the authorities are worried, expecting massive power surges at half-time and full-time.

The phenomenon, called TV pick-up, occurs most days during popular programs, but big football matches trigger a much greater demand.

The increase in electricity usage for England’s opening Group C game against the United States on Saturday is expected to be 1,200 megawatts at half-time and around 1,100 megawatts at the final whistle.

Should England reach the final and the game goes to penalties, the predicted surge would beat the previous record for a television program, set after England went out to West Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-finals.

Jon Fenn, National Grid’s electricity operations manager said

Making sure that demand is met is down to the skill of the forecasting team and also the engineers in the control centre who do the second-by-second balancing of demand and supply. It must be one of the few jobs where watching World Cup matches is essential to your work rather than a distraction, because we need to know to the second when half-time and full-time occur to be ready for the surges in demand

Of course it goes without saying that the water authorities had better be on their game too, because if the english homes are anything like my home, a trip to the fridge or kettle is preceeded by a trip to the toilet. Lets not even go there….


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