Melbourne Cup – the race that stops a nation…or is it?

2 min

It’s the most anticipated racing event of the year in the sport of kings, the race that stops a nation. The first Tuesday of November is here, and the Melbourne Cup is finally upon us!

 At Flemington Racecourse, the horses are buzzing with energy and the crowds are wild with it too. But what happens when we turn our eyes to the energy meter?

Many Australians across the nation drop what they're doing at 3pm to turn on their televisions. There’s a hiatus in operation as tradesmen gather around the radio, crowds grow silent in pubs, and offices come to a standstill as staff glue their eyes to the box in anticipation for the starting gates to open.

With the release of energy as the horses begin the initial sprint, have you ever wondered whether there’s a spike in electricity usage? Or do we perhaps see a drop as production pauses across Australia for those four magic minutes of the race?

Our Planning and Forecasting team here at AEMO has crunched some numbers, diving into the energy archives to investigate this phenomenon. And guess what…despite the popularity of the prestigious race, there’s not that much to get excited about.

As you well know, Melbourne and some parts of regional Victoria (Vic) celebrate the event with a public holiday which means Victorian business (distribution connected) consumption drops to weekend levels while the rest of the National Electricity Market (NEM) functions as normal.


The weekly energy consumption as recorded last year shows that there is a normal drop in business energy usage, while there is no clear change in the rest of the NEM.

Turning our attention to those cheering the horses on from the comfort of their couch, the residential energy demand in Vic is equivalent to the levels of an average Sunday with no morning spike, as many of us decide to stay in bed for longer. Come 3pm, the levels do not spike or fall, but remain consistent

Altogether, last year the electricity consumed (from the grid, excluding rooftop solar and some small non-scheduled generators) on Melbourne Cup day in Victoria was 49,618MWh, while the electricity use in the NEM amounted to 218,810MWh.

With similar weather conditions expected this year, the Melbourne Cup may be the race that pauses the nation, but it certainly does not stop or change the way we use energy across Australia.

For all the latest newsinsights and analysis from the Australian energy industry subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter and download the new Energy Live app on Apple and Android.


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