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England World Cup final would be a power shock

LONDON (Reuters) - An England football World Cup final, ending in celebration or heartbreak, is likely to create record power surges as millions of fans cheer with beer or share tea in sympathy, Britain's National Grid said on Friday.

Known in the industry as TV pick-ups, electricity surges occur during breaks in popular shows, when viewers all flip on kettles or open fridges at the same time.

In early-round England games, these surges are expected to reach up to 1,300 megawatts at half- and full-time, equivalent to the city of Newcastle turning on.

But if there is an England penalty shootout final, power could surge by more than double the levels of the earlier games to 3,000 megawatts, network operator National Grid estimated.

"It must be one of the few jobs where watching World Cup matches is essential to your work rather than a distraction, because we need to know to the second when half-time and full-time occur to be ready for the surges in demand," said Jon Fenn, electricity operations manager, in a statement.

A poll by National Grid also showed that old football rivalries remain deep, with only 7 percent of Scots and 36 percent of Welsh people planning to support England, although it will not stop the network operator from using their power generators.

"While many Scottish and Welsh people will not be supporting the England team, hydroelectric power stations in Scotland and Wales will be playing a key role in meeting the power surges around England's matches," Fenn said.

A 3,000 megawatt surge would beat the previous record, which was when England were defeated by Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-finals on a penalty shootout.

(Reporting by Kwok W. Wan; editing by Jane Baird)

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