Thursday, December 28, 2017

Greek Electricity Consumption Up Again

One of the best indicators of economic activity is electricity consumption.  It's pretty simple why: activity requires energy, and in modern, services-heavy economies electricity dominates.

The latest data for Greece (Nov. 2017) confirm my conviction that flash 3Q GDP estimates from ELSTAT, the Greek statistical authority, underestimate actual economic growth and will likely be revised upwards, just like the second quarter. 

Electricity consumption for Jan-Nov 2017 is up a very healthy +3.8%. Conversely, ELSTAT estimates real (inflation adjusted) GDP growth for the first nine months at just 1.1%. Such a large difference is too large to be ignored as a fluke, particularly since electricity consumption growth has been steadily higher for the entire year.

Looking into the electricity data in more detail we see that consumption increased most in the mid-voltage sector, i.e. commercial customers such as hotels, restaurants, large retailers and small manufacturers (+7% ytd).  That’s exactly in line with this year's rise in tourism, for example.  Low voltage consumption (mostly households) is also up +3.3%, while at the high end (i.e. industrial customers) there is a drop of -1.12%.

                            Pct. of total consumption    Change YTD
Low Voltage:                    62.3%                               +3.33%
Middle Voltage:               25.3%                               +6.96%
High Voltage:                   12.4%                                 -1.12%
Total:                                  100%                               +3.79%


  1. Oct 2016 -> April 2017 consumption - that looks awfully like a Gaussian (Normal) plot-line. What's that about? July 2017 looks like an outlier. Ditto for June 2016 - was there a bad heatwave then?

    Jan '16 -> Sep '16 and Nov '16 -> Apr '17 look like mirror images of each other? After Aug '17 consumption appears to be somewhat less volatile.

    I'd need to see the 'cumulatives' for 2002 -> 2007 and again for 2010 -> 2017 to be able to reach a more reliable conclusion.

    What are the base measurement data? Power units or what?

    Cheers. And best wishes for 2018. I think we may need it.

    ps: What does GR use for elec. generation? Fossils or re-usables?

  2. Hi Brian,
    Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

    The data refers to percentage changes in actual power consumption measured in kWhr.

    I'll give you the annual data vs. previous year:

    2012: -1.12%
    2013: -0.97%
    2014: -0.34%
    2015: +1.34%
    2016: -0.81%
    2017 to Nov. : +3.79%

    Greece uses a combination of low grade coal (aka lignite), hydro, natural gas and wind/solar. The two largest ones are coal/nat gas and hydro.

    Summer is the Greek peak load period due to hot weather - if there are major heat waves you can get spikes in consumption from A/C usage. Thus, outliers.

    As for the "normal" progression in 2017, it's a bit of a coincidence and a bit of economic recovery, with emphasis on the satisfyingly high rates of increase in the summer months (tourism). Interestingly, Oct. and Nov. are maintaining good size increases, telling me that the economy is on more stable ground.