Wedding tea-break triggers British power surge

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Tea-drinking Britain experienced one of its biggest-ever power surges caused by a televised event as the equivalent of one million kettles were switched on after the royal wedding Friday.

The 2,400-megawatt boost at 12:40 pm (1340 GMT) after the carriage procession arrived at Buckingham Palace was the fourth-largest surge caused by a TV programme ever experienced by the National Grid electricity network.

The surge for Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton even outstripped the 1,800-MW leap after the marriage of William's parents Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

Electricity demand plunged on Friday when millions stayed glued to their screens for the key moments, with a 3,000-MW drop for the balcony appearance and a 1,500-MW dip as the bride-to-be left for Westminster Abbey.

"It's been a fascinating day to work in our control room," said power system manager John Carnwath.

Britain's biggest power surge yet was 2,800 MW at the end of the England football team's nail-biting World Cup semi-final against West Germany in 1990. England went out of the tournament on penalties.

© 2011 AFP

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