EirGrid's National Control Centre in Dublin

Ireland V England rugby St Patrick’s Day showdown to spark rise in electricity use

17 March 2018

EirGrid is preparing to manage a sudden surge in electricity demand this afternoon, as Ireland gets set to take on England in an historic St Patrick’s Day Grand Slam decider in Twickenham.

With over one million viewers expected to tune in to witness the clash, following Ireland’s decisive victory over Scotland last week, the national grid operator in Ireland is expecting a surge of up to 60 megawatts (MW) at half-time during the game – equivalent to the electricity needed to power 60,000 homes.

The spike is expected to come between 3.30pm and 3.45pm this afternoon, as viewers use the half-time period to boil the kettle for a cup of tea, put on a wash or go for a toilet break.

Robin McCormick, EirGrid’s director of operations, says the national control centre, which keeps the lights on across Ireland by matching electricity production to customer demand, is prepared to deal with the sudden surge at half-time. 

“The last time Ireland won the grand slam was in 2009,” he said, “so this will be a big household viewing event and we expect to see a spike of at least 60MW at half-time.

“Generally, electricity demand on a Saturday is quite low compared to demand during the week,” Robin continued, “so a sudden spike like this is quite dramatic.”

Robin added that in cases like this, EirGrid will have a generator teed up and ready for surge.