At first glance, the concept of the UK being coincidently addicted to both tea and trashy opera soaps to such an extent that the country’s national power grid encountered an enormous surge of usage each time one of the opera ends seems unbelievable. It looks like it has to be a gross exaggeration stemming from a pair of stereotypes.
As it happens, this isn’t just a visible phenomenon in the UK. Still, it’s such a normal part of everyday life for the National Grid operators that they keep track of what’s going on in the plot of upcoming popular opera soaps and other shows to help forecast evaluations. It is necessary to maintain the electricity grid highly operational during the surges.
As a result, approximately 3-5 minutes after the conclusion of a show, which is the amount of time required to boil a kettle of water, there’s a reasonably massive surge in demand for electricity throughout the country.
This phenomenon, officially dubbed TV Pickup by the engineers at the National Grid, thanks to a unique mixture of the UK Citizens’ long-standing love affair with opera soaps. The country’s enjoyment of a good cup of tea and the nearly universal adoption of electric kettles throughout the UK has given rise to this situation.
The system, as it stands now, has limited capacity to ramp up electricity production enough to take care of surges that occurred unpredicted. It is quite expensive to dump power off from the grid. For instance, coal plants can take hours to ramp up to hours and full capacity to ramp down, with plants less nimble, sometimes taking over a day for the ramp-up. Diesel and gasoline plants are much faster, but still require a couple of minutes to a half-hour to ramp up.
The National Grid first starts by pre-planning, keeping track of what is going on in various shows and general time tables of when said popular shows would probably end. They also keep track of what major sporting events are coming up. It is a very tricky thing with sporting events, but even for TV shows, it’s a challenging proposition. These are rarely perfect and true that while the National Grid is given the time by BBC when the displays are scheduled to end. They are also required to provide precise information so that the grid operators can prevent overproduction or brownouts of power.
With all this entertainment information and utilizing data from previous years, they know of how the weather might affect power use. The energy forecasters develop with the estimated power requirement during a given day, including possible spikes and pauses.
National Power Grid has tried everything in their power to run the power system smoothly by avoiding this issue. They tried changing the energy sources and, at times, making the natives use the battery kettles. It is still a surprising pattern for the rest of the world.