In a video by Google's Matt Cutts yesterday, Matt shared that Google receives about 5,000 reconsideration requests per week. Google has told us they review each and every request submitted individually. So as you can imagine, that can take a lot of man hours.
Matt Cutts didn't respond directly to my question but did say on Twitter "different people at Google actually had different opinions about whether reconsiderations would spike or not."
Of course, initially, it may spike because people who thought they did not have penalties now will know they did. But all those people thinking they had manual penalties submitting false reconsideration requests will now be prevented.
I wonder if this will reduce the number of requests submitted in the long term.
Time will tell.