Covid lockdown hits electricity demand

Energy consultancy says Irish people are using less power as restrictions on work and travel bite

Irish electricity demand is falling in the face of the lockdown that has shut many of the State’s industries.

Research by energy consultancy Cornwall Insight Ireland shows that demand across the single electricity market, which covers the Republic and the North, fell 6 per cent in the week following March 16th, when restrictions first kicked in.

The consultants estimate that Irish people used 108.7 giga watt hours (GWh) during the first week of restrictions, against 116.1 GWh at the start of the month.

According to some industry estimates, one giga watt hour is enough electricity to power around one million family homes.


Ruth Young, training consultant with Cornwall, said it was difficult to say for how long demand would suffer as the Government had imposed the lockdown for an indefinite period.

“Naturally demand on the national transmission system will continue to decrease as we approach the summer months, but further demand falls due to Covid-19 will depend on the severity of Government restrictions on travel and work.”

Falling demand and prices have closed the ESB's turf-burning West Offaly Power electricity generator. Local Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen warned that the closure endangered jobs in State company Bord na Móna, which supplies fuel to the plant.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas