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England and Uruguay to light up World Cup


National Grid survey finds 56% expected to watch England v Uruguay game at home, fuelling surge in power demand

With the World Cup about to kick-off, National Grid expects the Group D clash between England and Uruguay (19 June, 8pm) to cause the biggest surge in power demand during the tournament’s group stage.

Grid forecasters say a surge in demand of around 1,300MW is expected at half time in England’s second match as people switch on kettles and lights. The “pickup” in demand is expected to be equivalent to 520,000 kettles being switched on at the same time.

These surges – or TV pickups – happen when a large number of people across Great Britain collectively switch on kettles and lights during a break in programming or after a major event, like a big cup final or the climax of a major soap storyline. Tonight’s World Cup curtain-raiser between Brazil and Croatia is expected to generate a pickup equivalent to 160,000 kettles being switched on (400MW).

A National Grid survey of the British public found the majority of viewers (56%) are likely to watch the England v Uruguay game at home. This, coupled with half-time coinciding with when it gets dark across the country, will mean significant pickups in demand at half-time and full-time. The England v Italy match is expected to create a smaller surge (900MW/360k kettles) due to the late kick-off time (11pm), which could discourage some casual viewers.

National Grid’s survey found:

  • Almost a quarter of fans (24%) plan to watch England’s opener with Italy in a pub, bar or club, despite the 11pm kick off;
  • 70% plan to watch eleven or more games during the World Cup;
  • 59% will watch their team’s games with friends and 56% will watch them with family members; and
  • 40% say they will probably watch fewer matches over the course of the tournament due to later kick-off times.

John Young, Energy Forecasting Analyst, National Grid, said:

“We’ve been preparing for the World Cup by looking at data from previous tournaments and asking people to tell us about their viewing plans. As the electricity system operator, this helps us predict how much power will be needed to meet surges in demand during and after matches.

“In our control room we will be watching the England v Uruguay game particularly closely. With 56% of people tuning in at home, we expect the match to cause the largest surge in electricity demand in the early part of the tournament. This is equivalent to over 500,000 kettles being switched on at half-time.

“In the group stage, we expect the England games to create the biggest surges in demand. We expect the size of these surges to increase if England progress in the tournament.”

Top 5 group games and projected demand surges:

1    England v Uruguay             20:00 Thursday 19th June Half Time (HT) 1.3GW (520k kettles)

2    England v Costa Rica         17:00 Tuesday 24th June HT 1.2GW (480k kettles)

3    England v Italy                     23:00 Saturday 14th June HT 900MW (360k kettles)

4    Spain v Netherlands           20:00 Friday 13th June HT 500MW (200k kettles)

5    Brazil v Croatia                     21:00 Thursday 12th June HT 400MW (160k kettles)

2014 World Cup Top 5 Pick-up Predictions

2014 World Cup Survey Results

 Contact for media information only:
Mark Malbas
National Grid Media Relations
+44 (0)1926 655291
Out of hours duty press officer:
+44 0845 366 6769

Notes for Editors: 

  1. 770 individuals responded to a National Grid survey open from midnight Friday 30 May to 9am on Monday 9 June.
  1. For further information or to request a broadcast interview on Thursday 12 June with a National Grid forecaster, call 01926 655291 or email Outside office hours call us on 0845 366 6769.
  1. Follow us on Twitter at @Grid_Media for updates on TV pickups caused by World Cup 2014.
  1. Our Top Ten historical football TV pickups at
  1. Learn why National Grid has to forecast and manage surges in demand caused by major televised events:
  1. National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world.  We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source.  In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities.

In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.  In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

In the UK:

  • We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
  • We own and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain
  • Our gas distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses
  • We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering
  • National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry - 0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).
  • Our portfolio of other businesses is mainly concerned with infrastructure provision and related services where we can exploit our core skills and assets to create value. These businesses operate in areas such as Metering, Grain LNG Import, Interconnectors and Property. National Grid Carbon Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid and it undertakes Carbon Capture Storage related activities on behalf of National Grid.

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