Energy demand increases as lockdown restrictions lifted

The COVID-19 lockdown had a significant impact on Great Britain’s (GB) energy demand, causing it to drop by almost 15-20% compared to the previous year. However, analysis by Cornwall Insight shows that as GB has slowly started to ease out of lockdown and some sectors start to reopen, electricity demand is beginning to recover.

The first nine days of June showed that daily transmission system electricity demand was, on average, 10% lower than the equivalent days in 2019. The graph below highlights this gradual increase in demand compared to levels seen in April and May.

Energy demand increasing as lockdown starts to lift

Sam Nicholls, Analyst at Cornwall Insight, said:

“Ever since the record-breaking spring Bank Holiday where transmission system power demand troughed at a 15-year low of 14.5GW in a single settlement period, demand has slowly resurged. However, energy demand has yet to come close to reaching the 0.7TWh daily demand seen at the end of March.

“This uptick in demand can, at least in part, be attributed to the easing of lockdown restrictions. In fact, since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 May encouraging workers who couldn’t work from home to go to work, the gap between 2020 daily Transmission System demand and the five-year average has narrowed from 0.14TWh before, to 0.11TWh after.

“The rise in demand could be further boosted by the opening of non-essential retail stores from 15 June. However, energy demand is unlikely to reach the same levels as last year as a result of poor economic forecasts for the coming months, with many lockdown restrictions remaining.”