The health crisis caused by Covid-19, which began to spread across the world early in the year, had a significant and immediate impact on electricity consumption in France as soon as confinement measures were imposed.
Consumption began to plummet within the first days of the lockdown ordered mid-March. This steep drop was directly attributable to a variety of companies and industries shutting down, and to the complete closure of most retail businesses.
At the height of the crisis (second and third weeks of the lockdown), the impact of confinement measures on electricity consumption in some cases exceeded 15 %, all other things being equal (i.e. based on equivalent weather conditions). The impact lessened over the following weeks as business activity resumed partially, notably in the industrial sector. By the end of April, the estimated impact on French power consumption had fallen to about 10 %.
Starting in June and during the summer months, consumption rebounded to a level that was closer to normal. This recovery was the result first of reopening, which allowed businesses to partially resume their activities; and then to the summer holiday period, during which business activity is traditionally lower. Toward mid-October, power consumption was 2 to 3 % below normal. This was the case in the industrial and tertiary sectors, where demand is directly dependent on economic activity.
In late October and early November, stronger health measures (curfews in large cities, a second, less restrictive lockdown) caused consumption to decline again, but not by nearly as much as in the spring. An additional decrease of about 1 point was seen during the first week of the second lockdown, driving consumption down to about 3-4% below normal. Consumption rose slightly after the end of the second lockdown, and ended the year at around 2-3 % below average.
Between March and December, comparative consumption relative to the average for the 2014-2019 period was -4.7 %.
*adjusted consumption, business days only
1st confinement: from Tuesday, 17 March to Monday, 11 May 2020
2nd confinement: from Wednesday, 30 October to Tuesday, 15 December 2020