The power of TV

  • Murray's mega Wimbledon win
  • Fever pitch: How an England match pumped up our energy levels
  • Rugby mania sees energy demand leap

Fish and chips, good music and saying ‘sorry’ at every opportunity are just some of the things that Brits are famous for. But next on the list should surely be our love of the shared TV moment – even in these days of on-demand viewing and recordable shows. This collective love of ‘event TV’ has also given rise to some fascinating stats when it comes to spikes in our energy use.

With so many people across Great Britain switching on kettles, lights and opening fridge doors during an ad break or after a major TV event, we’ve created our very own phenomenon called TV pickup. An energy spike, in other words, created by millions of people doing the same power-demanding thing at the same time.

In fact, only in the UK can you literally set your watch by surges in electrical activity. The largest pick up of the day is 9pm, when several of our favourite shows end. But it’s not always that easy for the National Grid to predict an energy spike, particularly when it comes to sport.

Here are our sizzling seven power hungry TV moments.

1. 1990 World Cup Semi Final – West Germany v England

Power demand: 2800 MW

When England was defeated in a toe-curling penalty shootout, our hearts sunk as we waved goodbye to a tearful Gazza and the gang. Only a nice cup of tea could console the nation. The resulting power surge was the equivalent of 1.12 million kettles being switched on at the same time.

2. 2002 World Cup – England v Brazil

Power demand: 2290 MW

England was never going to run rings around Brazil but our support was unwavering. And, yes, we've got the megawatts to prove it.                    

3. 2014 Football World Cup Final – Germany v Argentina

Power demand: 1610 MW

Germany became the first European team to win a World Cup in South America. Meanwhile, Diego Maradona forged a new career as Argentina's public enemy number 1.

4. 2013 Andy Murray wins Wimbledon Men’s Final

Power demand: 1110 MW

The first British male to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry saw thousands of us celebrate by reaching for that celebratory jug of Pimms that was chilling in the fridge.

5. 2014 Football World Cup (Group Stage) – England v Uruguay

Power demand: 1025 MW

As we watched England bow out, manager Roy Hodgson helpfully added: “When the World Cup is played in South America, South American teams generally do well.”

6. 2014 Wimbledon Men’s Final – Djokovic v Federer

Power demand: 710 MW

The two titans of male tennis battled it out in this gripping final. If you were drinking pints in the pub, well good on you. However, when it comes to energy use, tea-totallers have more to answer for.

7. 2011 Rugby World Cup Final – New Zealand v France

Power demand: 420 MW

New Zealand beat France to the post by one single point in New Zealand’s first win after 24 years.

Can you think of any other classic sporting moments that could have caused a spike in power use? Send us your comments or tweet us @British Gas


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