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TV pickup

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TV pickup is a term used in the United Kingdom to refer to a phenomenon that affects electricity generation and transmission networks. It often occurs when a large number of people watch the same TV programmes while taking advantage of breaks in programming to use toilets and operate electrical appliances, thus causing large synchronised surges in national electricity consumption. Electricity networks devote considerable resources to predicting and providing electricity supply for these events, which in the UK, for example, typically impose an extra demand of around 200–400 megawatts (MW) on the National Grid. Short-term supply is often obtained from pumped storage reservoirs, which can be quickly brought online, backed up by the slower fossil fuel and nuclear power stations. The largest ever pickup was on 4 July 1990, when a 2800 MW demand was imposed by the ending of the penalty shootout in the England v West Germany FIFA World Cup semi-final. In addition to pickups, the Grid also prepares for synchronised switch-offs during remembrance and energy-awareness events.
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