Engineers’ chatter about power peaks at half time during big televised sports events consists of irresistible fact, as much as cherished fiction. Better still, it is communicated in numbers – and numbers tolerate little resistance.
Western Power Distribution, a Steve-Maclaren-shunning umbrella for four backbone suppliers to eight million customers in the Midlands and West, today released the graph below. It gives hour by hour stats around Wednesday’s ITV screening of England’s 2:1 victory over Denmark
Watched by a reported 24.6 million viewers across Britain, the two-hour game from Wembley was ‘slabbed’ – in TV scheduling-speak – across prime time, ending soon after 22:30pm.
England’s three lions not being available, WPD’s three lines on the chart show conventional demand for a typical Wednesday evening in early summer, i.e. the blue area.
Shown too in heavy type are the DNO’s two supply peaks from Wednesday 7 July. They accompany first the Danish free-kick, then an equalising own goal, then half time, then the second half. There follows extra time, with Harry Kane’s early netting of a rebounding penalty.
Kinetic heat released by England fans jumping vigorously up and down, and hugging one another, were beyond the collection power of WPD’s meters. So too was cooling effects achieved by splashing each other with beer.
Interestingly, though showing two prominent peaks associated with breaks in ITV’s broadcast, WPD’s overall demand on Wednesday evening was significantly down on normal.
WPD’s data and digitalisation manager Jon Berry commented: “Our data shows that England’s win made a clear impact on our network.
“We expect a similar effect on demand on Sunday with the increased demand for cups of tea and drinks in households and pubs across the WPD network.
“Let’s hope for an electric game against Italy and fingers crossed that Southgate’s men bring it home!”
Unconfirmed sources indicated that on Spain’s national grid, the phenomenon of demand peaks caused by fans switching on kettles during major soccer clashes is known the Cuppa del Rey.