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Household energy demand jumps 15% as people work from home

Data on demand was collected from over 24,000 smart meters across the UK.

Data on demand was collected from over 24,000 smart meters across the UK.

Shell Energy has become the latest company to highlight the change in demand since lockdown.

The utility branch of the energy major registered a 15% increase in home electricity consumption in the four days following the initial announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Data was collected from over 24,000 smart meters across the UK as more people began working from home between 24 and 28 March 2020, driving up electricity usage.

There has been a change in the pattern of usage too, as the previous morning spike has become a more gradual increase throughout the morning. Peaks in home electricity now occur between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, the data showed, as people prepare lunch.

Shell Energy has said this increase will lead to a £6 increase in energy costs per month for the average UK household. The company has brought in a number of measures to help consumers who may be struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as discretionary credit of up to £50 for prepayment customers, payment plans and sending engineers to assist customers.

“This is a challenging time for everyone”, according to Colin Crooks, CEO of Shell Energy Retail, but the company is working to support customers and hasn’t seen any impact on service levels so far.

“My message to all of our customers is - if you are genuinely struggling as a result of the impact then we are here to help.”

While energy consumption at home has increased, across the UK demand overall has dropped significantly due to the closure of factories, offices and other industry during the lockdown.

This has led to new records being set, with demand falling to just 24.18GW on Easter Sunday.

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