Victorian gas demand impacts from COVID-19

3 min

In recent weeks we’ve covered electricity demand impacts across Australia due to COVID-19 and have noted only moderate reductions in demand in most states. Now, with winter nearly upon us, our attention is focused on gas demand impacts in Victoria, to determine if the south eastern state is experiencing any unusual fluctuations as a result of the pandemic.

AEMO's Operational Forecasting team have been working diligently to isolate COVID-19 impacts from the normal variation in demand patterns, and gathering insights and modelling from across Victoria on gas demands impacts in early May.

During their analysis the team noted that the hourly demand profile for Victoria has in fact changed. This includes a later and longer morning peak with demand remaining high through until the late morning period. There has been an increase of up to 5% in peak day demand in addition to increased sensitivity to weather events (residential load). It’s expected that residential demand will likely see a 2% increase during mild weather conditions but up to a 7% increase on those very cold, peak demand days. The historic hourly demand profile for commercial and industrial businesses remains unchanged, however, with a 5% reduction overall and variations by customer. 

Graph showing gas demand in VIC during May 2020[

Case Study – 1 May 2020. Very cold – equivalent to 1-in-20 April peak day, demand held up following the morning peak,
warmer weather during the afternoon 

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With Australia beginning to remove some COVID-19 restrictions, on a state by state basis, demand is expected to increase, as has been demonstrated by countries overseas who are ahead of us on the pandemic response timeline.

As noted last week, it’s expected that with winter on the horizon, we might see an increase in load volatility, reflective of a greater proportion of residential (weather sensitive) load on the grid. 

We will continue to keep you updated on all the latest pandemic related impacts and activity domestically and internationally so stay tuned for more on this evolving situation.

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