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Covid-19 may not be the only reason electricity sales are falling in 2020

Covid-19 lockdown

In this week’s Gossage we look at falling electricity sales in 2020, and explore whether Covid-19 is the only thing to blame.

We all know that during 2020 electricity sales are falling. Everywhere. The best bet is that by the end of the year, overall consumption levels will be down around 5% on 2019 levels, maybe more.  

Received wisdom is that this will have been due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But received wisdom may not be providing the whole story.  

I have been looking at electricity sales figures recorded during the first nine years of this decade. When there was no Covid-19, but there was still a quite remarkable shift in Britain’s electrical system during the 2010s. 

Overall, the amount of electricity consumed had already fallen by nearly 15% between the years 2010 and 2019. That meant that the economy was already using 50TWh less electricity in 2019 than it did in 2010.  

To put that into context, even if every car and taxi was already powered by electricity (as opposed to just 3% of them), that 50TWh could have been diverted to powering well over half of them. 

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