Power consumption in a number of European countries has seen dramatic falls due to the spread of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with Italy being one of the hardest hit with a 19.5% demand fall last week, data complied by Anadolu Agency shows.
The World Health Organization has declared the virus outbreak that has now spread to 159 countries and territories a pandemic.
Measures to contain the virus including the closure of shops, facilities, restaurants and shopping malls lowered economic activity and led to a dramatic drop in power consumption.
Furthermore, a number of countries that brought in lockdown rules to prevent the spread of the virus including curfews in Italy, and the limiting of free movement of people in France and Spain also impacted electricity consumption.
According to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) data on week 12 covering the March 16-20, 2020, Italy's power consumption saw a 19.5% decrease to an hourly average of 28.7 gigawatts (GW) compared to the same week last year.
Consumption stood at an hourly average of 35.2 GW in the same week of 2019, the data showed.
By March 20, the number of COVID-19 cases in Italy was 41,035 with a death toll of 3,405.
- France and Spain see drop in consumption
Power consumption in France also dropped by 16.5% during the same period especially after the country started to limit social movement on March 17.
By March 20, the number of cases in France had reached 12,612 with a death toll of 450.
Spain, as one of the European countries with the highest COVID-19 cases, saw a 7.8% decrease in electricity consumption over the same period.
The country's power consumption stood at an hourly average of 27 GW between March 16 and 20, 2020.
The country reported 18,077 COVID-19 cases by the same date.
Germany, Belgium and Switzerland are expected to see power consumption drop starting from this week with the introduction of stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya