During half-time of England’s Rugby World Cup Semi-Final match against New Zealand on Saturday, there was a demand spike of 720MW.
That’s the equivalent of 360,000 kettles boiling at the same time!
Although us Brits are famous for their love for tea, that energy spike isn’t necessarily from kettles. It can be a combination of things such as fridge compressors or water pressure being maintained due to people making the most of the break and nipping to the toilet.
These energy spikes during large moments on TV are called “TV pickups” and they’re more common than you may think.
One of the largest ever TV pickup moments was during England’s World Cup Semi-Final against West Germany in 1990. After a penalty miss that saw England out of the World Cup, demand soared to 2,800MW – that’s 1,120,000 kettles!
Who shot Phil?
Remember when Lisa admitted to shooting Phil on EastEnders back in 2001? That saw a demand of 2,290MW!
The Royal Wedding or Prince William and Kate spiked a demand of 1,600MW which is equivalent to 640,000 kettles.
Whilst this is a large demand, it highlights how viewing behaviour has changed. Nowadays, not as many people watch TV live, meaning that adverts and breaks aren’t as common.
How is the demand managed?
Due to these TV pickups being relatively easy to predict, such as knockout stages of sports tournaments, the National Grid can ensure they have contingency measures in place that are able to generate the extra power if required.
Our best advice? Make sure you don’t boil more water than required in the kettle!
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