Can electricity consumption tell us anything about the pandemic? | by Anuradha Tulsian | Nov, 2020


Analysis of electricity information from Victoria, Australia to discover the results on the pandemic on its consumption.

Photo by Alessandro Di Credico on Unsplash

In March 2020, COVID-19 reached Australia and brought about a nationwide lockdown. That meant most of us have been house, industries, eating places, colleges, public areas shut. This lockdown certainly impacted a number of methods through which our world ran earlier than, however a key a part of our world working is: electricity.

So, what occurred? The first thought can be that we should have seen a discount in electricity consumption. This examine tries to reply two questions briefly and is predicated on Victorian electricity consumption as recorded by AEMO:

1. How has COVID-19 impacted the approach we eat electricity?

2. Are traditional fashions nonetheless good to foretell and forecast our future consumption wants?

Fig 1 (Image by Author)
Fig 1 (Image by Author)

Yes and no.

From fig 1, it may be seen that there isn’t a vital change in the quantity of electricity Victoria consumes. The dips and peaks attribute to by and enormous, the climate. For instance, the peak in July is because of the elevated use of heating with July being the coldest month of the yr.

However, from fig 2, a change or reasonably a big dip could be noticed in the electricity demand from an hourly perspective over the final 9 months as in comparison with different years. This time window is the eight am to five pm, the workplace hours with pure mild seeping in by means of the home windows of our properties.

These visualisations could be discovered on Tableau right here .

Now, the actual query.

The approach we eat electricity relies on a few elements comparable to climate, enterprise cycles, day of the week and right here, we tried to grasp if the lockdown had an impact on this consumption. While constructing the fashions for this examine, the following elements have been thought-about — month-to-month time collection (from 2015–2020), common temperature in these months and a categorical variable representing if we have been in a lockdown or not.

I attempted a bunch of time collection forecasting strategies comparable to ETS, ARIMA, Linear Regression and Dynamic Regression to forecast the consumption in 2020. Most of those fashions carried out identically with small variations when it comes to mannequin accuracies.

The mannequin that comparatively outperformed others was a time collection linear mannequin with imply temp and ARIMA errors. I educated the fashions utilizing information from January 2015 till February 2020 and made predictions for March 2020 to September 2020 (the months of lockdown in Victoria). More particulars of this mannequin could be discovered right here and that is what the forecast appears to be like like.

Fig 3 (Image by Author)

So, what’s all this telling us about the pandemic and electricity consumption?

Well, a minimum of in Victoria which has been seeing a reducing pattern in electricity consumption over the final 5 years, the 2% lower as a result of the pandemic is just not troublesome to foretell. The electricity that was used by industries, places of work and enterprise are actually redirected to our properties.

There is, nonetheless, one distinction which could be noticed throughout the workplace hours of the day when there’s a vital dip in the electricity consumption in the months of lockdown. And this could possibly be a scope for enchancment if we might construct a mannequin that takes on this as an element.

You can discover the code and extra particulars on this on my GitHub repo.


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