Don't turn the kettle on at half time!!!

Posted: 16/06/2016

A surge for tea at Euro2016

 You may have noticed there has been a lot of football on the TV recently, and there is likely to be for some time to come – if the home nations stay in the competition that is! Back in the day, a popular urban myth was born which suggested that at half-time in the FA Cup final there was a power surge when everyone put the kettle on for a brew.

 Well, this is one myth which is actually true. It is known as a TV Pickup and is usually associated with breaks in, or at the end of, sporting events. Because people still tend to watch sports events live, rather than on catch-up TV, it is the sheer mass of people watching a program and then putting the kettle on at once which causes this strain on the power supply.


 Some of the biggest TV Pickups in recent years include:

  • England bowing out of the World Cup in 2014 to Uruguay (let’s not repeat that this year) – 1025MW
  • Andy Murray winning Wimbledon in 2013 (happy to see that repeated) – 1110 MW
  • West Germany v England in the World Cup Semi-Final in 1990 (the biggest surge on record) – 2800 MW

 What is interesting is that the power companies are now able to predict this extra demand on the supply and make allowances – so we should be OK for the Euros this year. So whichever part of the UK you come from, and whoever you are supporting; you’ll be able to safely enjoy a hot drink at half-time, or something stronger to aid your celebrations or consolidations after the game.  

 Stay safe and enjoy the competition. 

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