Electricity companies in Slovakia have witnessed reduced demand in Q1 2020 when compared with the same period last year due to the spread of COVID-19. Electricity consumption in Slovakia declined by 2.2% in the first two months of 2020 when compared with the same period of 2019. In March 2020, demand for electricity declined by 3.7%.
In the first week of March 2020, electricity consumption increased by 2.3% mainly due to a year-on-year decrease in temperature by 2.3°C. Subsequent weeks in March 2020, i.e. week two, week 3 and week four declined by 3.7%, 5.9% and 7.4% when compared with the demand during the same period last year. The declining trend of consumption continued in the first week of April as electricity consumers consumed around 8.3% less electricity compared to the same period in 2019.
Decline in Consumption in Industrial and Commercial Segments
The decrease in power consumption in Slovakia can be attributed to a temporary halt in economic activity in order to contain the spread of coronavirus. Industrial and commercial segments witnessed a noticeable decline in power consumption. Shutdown or reduction of operations in large companies, factories (including car manufacturing units), small and medium enterprises, educational institutions and hospitality industry had a significant impact on average daily system load. Commercial industry is hit hard as malls, shopping centres, hotels, bars and restaurants were closed due to strict measures undertaken by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Increase in Residential Consumption
On the contrary, there is an increase in electricity consumption in the residential segment as most of the population in the country is under home quarantine and working from home through remote access. However, this increase in residential consumption was unable to offset the decline in consumption in industrial and commercial segments.
Declining Trend Likely to Continue
Electricity consumption in Slovakia will continue to decline in the coming weeks as the current pandemic situation in the country is likely to continue for some more weeks. Demand for electricity will steady in Q3 and will show an increasing trend in Q4 2020. It is expected that electricity consumption under the current market conditions in Slovakia will decline for the third consecutive year, with met demand falling by anywhere between 2.3-2.9% in 2020. The initial trend of the annual decline does not look dramatic in comparison to the fall it had in 2009 during the economic crisis when the consumption fell by 8.2%.
Delays in Capacity Additions
The decline in electricity consumption is likely to impact new capacity additions in the country. It is expected that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent decline in demand will lead to delays in commissioning of projects which are in later stages of construction. Mochovce 3 nuclear reactor with a capacity of 471 MW and was expected to be online in 2020 is delayed due to COVID-19. The project which had faced various hurdles and delays earlier was in construction for over 12 years. Due to the current pandemic situation Slovenske Elektrarne AS. which is the owner of the project reduced the number of workforce significantly to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread. With the social distancing measures in place and a significant reduction in workforce in construction of the reactor, it is highly likely that the commissioning of the project will be delayed to next year.