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Coronavirus: Belgians consume up to 25% less electricity

Belgians are using less electricity than before the coronavirus lockdown. Credit: Pixabay

Electricity consumption in Belgium is steadily dropping as a result of the lockdown imposed to contain the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Consumption is down by an average 16% compared to the first week of March, said Elia, Belgium’s high-voltage network provider, in a press release. “At certain times of day, the differences can be even greater, peaking at 25%,” Elia said.

“Following the government circular issued on 12 March 2020 and the implementation of the first restriction measures, we saw a significant downward impact on load (between 5 and 10% during peak-load hours).” This impact continued following the announcement of far-reaching measures on 17 March, which led “to a downturn of 10 to 15% in the days that followed,” according to Elia.

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“The drop is slightly more pronounced among consumers connected to the distribution grid (17%) compared to Elia’s 149 industrial customers (14%) connected directly to the high voltage grid,” the company communicated.

“The difference may be due to tightened anti-coronavirus measures that have a greater impact on sectors where establishments are connected to the distribution network (bars, restaurants, retail), possibly offset in part by rising residential consumption due to widespread teleworking,” they said. The lockdown measures include a ban on non-essential businesses, which has had a big impact on both the hospitality sector and on commerce.

In addition, the average price per megawatt-hour (MWh) hit a historic low of €18.7 in March. In comparison, that price was €60.3 in March 2013. “As long as demand remains low, this price phenomenon can continue,” the company said.

In any case, “grid stability and security of supply are maintained,” according to Elia.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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