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Words by Paul Linnane, Head of EMI

We expect the change in patterns of social activity arising from urgent government measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic will create unusual circumstances in the energy sector. How the pandemic will impact customer behaviour and industry action has already been demonstrated in Octopus Energy’s announcement that domestic energy consumption has increased since many people in the UK started working from home.

I thought this would be a good time to use the spare hours usually reserved for my commute to start looking at new ways to visualise data on the UK’s energy-related activities. On Twitter, I came across Alex Varlamov’s insightful Tableau visualisation on evictions in San Francisco. I was really impressed with the way the visualisation created “mini mountains” to show eviction peaks within a geographical location.

A quick download later and some additional learning, and I’ve tried to do the same with some of the switching data within the ElectraLink dataset, using data going back to when we started collating switching data in 2012.


It’s not polished or a dashboard yet, but this is the starting point of how we can manipulate and visualise ElectraLink’s vast pool of energy market data.

We will soon be providing regular updates using various data types we hold to visualise changing behaviour and activity in the energy market as a result of pandemic response measures.

We don’t know when the pandemic will subside, but government-enforced measures will end, and these patterns will change again. However, hopefully the learning from this will help us understand more about patterns during other changes to energy use, generation and management. Perhaps this could even prepare us to anticipate what the move to net zero might look like.