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It’s that time of year again, time to watch some horses running in a circle.
Melbourne Cup day, far from being a regional event for Victorians, captures the attention of punters on both sides of the Tasman.
When you add it up across all streaming platforms, over two million people watch the annual tradition.
With so many homes and offices glued to their televisions and laptops, you might be wondering just how much strain this puts on the grid.
In today’s blog, we’re going to take a quick look at just that!
And you might be surprised at some of the answers.
It’s the first Tuesday of November in the year 2014.
From Sydney to Wollongong to Newcastle people are donning silly hats and gathering around their office radio.
Eventually, Protectionist galloped past the finish line in first and was declared the winner of the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
So with all that in mind, what happened to NSW’s electricity usage while the race was being run?
At 3 pm usage was recorded at being around 7.83 gigawatts.
By 3:15, with everyone watching the Cup, usage had dropped down to 7.79 gigawatts.
Then by the time, it hit 3:30 power usage had jumped back up 7.87 gigawatts.
That’s a fluctuation of about 40 megawatts, enough to power tens of thousands of homes.
Everywhere except, strangely, in Victoria.
The large-scale reduction in productivity from high use customers such as factories lead to dips in other states
However, in Victoria, the home of both Melbourne and the Melbourne Cup, experiences a much less noticeable fluctuation of energy usage.
That’s because, in Victoria, Melbourne Cup day is a public holiday.
People stay home, more to the point, people don’t go to work.
Numerous energy guzzling businesses aren’t operating on Melbourne Cup day.
This results in that 15-minute window where electricity usage drops in the rest of the country, being more mild for Victorians.
This phenomenon really keeps electricity generators on their toes.
If the energy being used doesn’t roughly approximate the energy being supplied, it can lead to a whole range of problems.
Moments like this aren’t unique to Australia and the Melbourne Cup either.
Read More: Want to save a bit? Here’s 15 ways to do it!
A similar event happens, almost in reverse, nearly every day of the week in the UK.
The popular soap Eastenders, which regularly airs on BBC One, so stops the nation that it’s conclusion leads to a surge in energy use.
Once they’ve finished watching, over a million people turn on their kettle to make themselves a nice cup of tea.
A kettle might not seem like much, but a million of them all being turned on at once causes some serious problems.
Ultimately extra power needs to be pulled from electricity companies in Scotland, and sometimes from across the English Channel in France.
Seems like a lot of effort to go to for a TV show, right?
So what if we told you the same thing happens here during the State of Origin?
When Jared Hayne scored the first try in the 2013 Origin, electricity usage surged by 30 megawatts.
“Great try! Does anyone want a cuppa?”
If that’s what you’re wondering, we’ve got some good news for you.
When you use less power, you’ll be charged less for your power bill.
It might not show up as a huge amount, but you might see less on your bill.
So does this mean we need a Melbourne Cup every day?
You’re more than welcome to petition the Melbourne government, I like wearing silly hats.