In a new paper, “Firms and Households during the Pandemic: What do we Learn from their Electricity Consumption?”, Natalia Fabra and co-authors (Olympia Bover, Sandra García-Uribe, Aitor Lacuesta ad Roberto Ramos) analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on electricity consumption patterns in Spain. They stress the importance of decomposing total electricity consumption into consumption by firms and by households to better understand the economic and social impacts of the crisis. They report that electricity demand by firms fell substantially (-29%), while demand by households went up (+10%). Focusing on total electricity consumption as an indicator of economic activity would seriously underestimate it.
They also document a change in people’s daily routines in response to the stringency of the lockdown measures, as reflected in their hourly electricity consumption patterns. The effects are more pronounced during working hours. They document changes in peoples’ routines, for instance, Spaniards got used to getting up and going to bed later, at least while schools were closed.
The paper is available here