Data​: Create Insights and Predict the Future?

October 6, 2020

Since mid-March our collective lives have been re-configured, and as you’d expect this has significantly impacted how and when we have all used energy.

Whilst the impact on consumption attributed to industrial and business use has been a reduction in demand, it’s not yet clear what the longer-term impacts could be. This leads to a number of wide ranging and complex questions, including: Could total demand be reduced for the long term? What kind of effects will more localised ‘lockdowns’ have? Will the latest guidance around home-working impact consumption this winter? Can we estimate the kind of impact a second wave of COVID-19 could have? What does all of this mean to climate change?

The start of an answer to all of these questions can perhaps be gleaned from analysing historical consumption data. Via the Astral Cloud, Astral Tech manage and maintain a data warehouse that stores over 15% of the UK’s industrial and commercial metered consumption. The associated customers represent all segments of business and by analysing this data we can build out a full view of how COVID-19 has impacted non-residential energy consumption. We corroborated the results and found them to be roughly in line with National Grid data which of course reflects business and residential use combined.

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Approximately two weeks before lockdown was officially announced the data shows that behaviour was already beginning to shift. Energy demand started reducing in early March and suggests individual businesses were making a decision to close or go virtual before being formally told to do so by the Government.

In 2019 average May consumption dropped by ~4% when compared to March due to seasonal variation, but in 2020 May consumption was ~23% less than March.

By the end of August average consumption is still ~11.5% down from the March level, whereas usually with seasonal variation we would expect it to be only down by ~4.5%.

Exeter University have done some excellent work looking at this in much greater detail and we would thoroughly recommend taking a look:

Our broader point here is that by using the data you have as an energy retailer, you can not only create engaging insights for your customers and build stronger long-term relationships, but you can also predict the future which doesn’t half help when it comes to mitigating risk and managing your hedged positions.

The Astral Cloud Data Warehouse is now available globally as a stand-alone product and delivers market leading data processing and analytics. To learn more about how Astral Tech can help you store, manage and analyse your consumption data, please contact us.

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