National Grid plc
|Type||Public limited company|
|Predecessor||Central Electricity Generating Board|
|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Revenue||£14.540 billion (2020)|
|£3.307 billion (2020)|
|£1.265 billion (2020)|
|Total assets||£67.089 billion (2020)|
|Total equity||£19.562 billion (2020)|
Number of employees
National Grid plc is a British multinational electricity and gas utility company headquartered in London, England. Its principal activities are in the United Kingdom, where it owns and operates electricity and natural gas transmission networks, and in the Northeastern United States, where as well as operating transmission networks, the company produces and supplies electricity and gas, providing both to customers in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
National Grid plc is one of the largest "investor owned" utility companies in the world; it has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange where it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, and a secondary listing in the form of its American depositary receipts on the New York Stock Exchange.
Background (CEGB before 1990)
Before 1990, both the generation and transmission activities in England and Wales were under the responsibility of the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB). The present electricity market in the United Kingdom was built upon the breakup of the CEGB into four separate companies in the 1990s.
Its generation (or upstream) activities were transferred to three generating companies — PowerGen, National Power, and Nuclear Electric (later British Energy, eventually EDF Energy)—and its transmission (or downstream) activities to the National Grid Company.
National Grid and acquisitions (1990–1999)
In 1990, the transmission activities of the CEGB were transferred to the National Grid Company plc, which was owned by the twelve regional electricity companies (RECs) through a holding company, National Grid Group plc. The company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in December 1995.
Expansion and consolidation (2000–2015)
With the beginning of the new millennium, National Grid pursued mergers and acquisitions. In March 2000, National Grid Group acquired New England Electric System and Eastern Utilities Associates.
In January 2002, National Grid Group acquired Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, a New York State utility. In October 2002, National Grid Group merged with Lattice Group, owner of the Transco gas distribution business (Lattice had demerged from BG Group in 2000).
National Grid Group changed its name to National Grid Transco plc. It sold the telecoms business 186K Ltd. which was acquired as part of the merger with Lattice Group for a nominal £1 to Hutchison Whampoa in December 2002. In August 2004, National Grid Transco agreed to sell four of its regional gas distribution networks for a total cash consideration of £5.8 billion.
NGT kept ownership of four other distribution networks, which make up almost half of Great Britain's gas distribution network. In July 2005, National Grid Transco was renamed National Grid plc. On 26 July 2005, National Grid Company was renamed National Grid Electricity Transmission plc, and on 10 October 2005, Transco was renamed National Grid Gas plc.
In February 2006, National Grid announced that it had agreed to buy KeySpan Corporation, a gas distributor and electricity producer in the United States, for $7.3bn (£4.1bn) in cash. Around the same time, National Grid also announced the acquisition of New England Gas Company, a Rhode Island subsidiary of Southern Union Company.
The acquisitions of the two natural gas delivery companies doubled the size of National Grid's American subsidiary, creating the second largest utility in the United States with more than 8 million customers. The acquisition of KeySpan was completed on 24 August 2007, following government and regulatory approval and endorsement by the shareholders of the two companies.
In May 2007, National Grid formed a joint venture with the Dutch transmission operator TenneT for a 260-kilometre (160 mi) 1,000 MW BritNed DC link between the Isle of Grain in Kent and Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam. The installation of the first section of cable link started on 11 September 2009, and the entire 260 km (160 mi) cable was completed in October 2010.
The interconnection became operational on 1 April 2011, and by January 2012, electricity flow had mostly been from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. The BritNed interconnection would serve as a vital link for the foreseeable European super grid project. In the spring of 2011, National Grid sold off its services in New Hampshire, after their request to increase gas and electric rates was denied.
In November 2015, it was announced that Steve Holliday, the CEO for ten years, would leave in March 2016 and that John Pettigrew, its executive director who joined National Grid twenty five years earlier, would succeed him. In June 2016, the Energy Select Committee argued that the company faced too many conflicts of interest, particularly with regard to its ownership of international interconnectors. The committee proposed that the company should be split up.
In December 2016, National Grid agreed to sell a 61% stake in its gas distribution business to a consortium of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Allianz Capital Partners, Hermes Investment Management, CIC Capital Corporation, Qatar Investment Authority, Dalmore Capital and Amber Infrastructure Limited, with a further 14% stake under negotiation. The sale was completed on 31 March 2017, following clearance by the European Commission, and the resulting company was named Cadent Gas.
In July 2019, National Grid's Electricity System Operator arm, separately from its Electricity Transmission arm, announced its intent to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance, furthering its goal of becoming a zero carbon electricity system by 2025. At the time of its announcement, National Grid was the largest energy company based in the United Kingdom to join the alliance, according to publicly available financial figures of 2018.
Later in the year, the company moved ownership of its operations in the United Kingdom to Luxembourg and Hong Kong, to protect itself from Labour's nationalisation plans. A spokesman said, "Labour's proposals for state ownership of National Grid would be highly detrimental to millions of ordinary people who either hold shares in the company or through their pension funds." The Labour Party said the "rip off" move showed the grid needed to be in public hands.
In March 2021, National Grid announced it intended to purchase Western Power Distribution from PPL Corporation for £7.8 billion, and sell its Rhode Island gas and electricity network, Narragansett Electric Company, to PPL for about £2.7 billion. National Grid will also sell its majority ownership of the UK gas distribution business. These transactions are subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Separately, the company is to commence a process to sell a majority stake in its National Grid Gas distribution network. These transactions require shareholder and regulatory approvals; in addition, the sale of the US subsidiary is conditional on completion of the WPD acquisition.
- National Grid Electricity Transmission plc (formerly National Grid Company) owns and operates the National Grid 275kV and 400kV electricity transmission network in England and Wales. Since 1 April 2005, it also operates the electricity transmission network in Scotland (although this is still owned by Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy).
- National Grid plc part owns and operates a 2,000 Megawatt HVDC interconnector to France (HVDC Cross-Channel) with RTE.
- National Grid plc part owns and operates a 1,000 Megawatt HVDC interconnector to the Netherlands (BritNed) with TenneT.
- National Grid Gas plc (formerly Transco) owns and operates the gas transmission network (from terminals to distributors), known as the National Transmission System (NTS).
- National Grid Property Portfolio houses all land, offices and depots used for National Grid operations that are surplus to requirements or let to third parties.
- National Grid Metering maintain an asset base of over twelve million industrial, commercial and domestic gas meters.
- National Grid purchased the UK’s largest by area electricity distribution business Western Power Distribution from American utility company PPL in 2021. Western Power Distribution operates the electricity distribution system within the Midlands, South West and Wales, looking after the 132, 66, 33, 11, 6.6kV and LV networks comprising substations, overhead lines and underground cables.
- As of 2019[update], National Grid United States operates 8,881 miles (14,293 km) of electricity transmission and 35,560 miles of gas transmission and delivers electricity and natural gas to areas of the Northeast states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The business serves over twenty million customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York State and is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts in a 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2) LEED certified "green" facility. This subsidiary carries out its business through a number of subsidiary companies (all doing business as "National Grid"). The main ones are:
- New England Power Company
- Massachusetts Electric Company (in Massachusetts)
- Nantucket Electric (in Massachusetts)
- Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation (in New York State)
- KeySpan Corporation (parts of New York City)
- Boston Gas Company (including the former Essex Gas Company, in Massachusetts)
- Colonial Gas Company (in Massachusetts)
- Providence Gas Company (in Rhode Island)
A further subsidiary, Narragansett Electric Company in Rhode Island, was sold to PPL Corporation in March 2021.
Investment and green technologies
As of 2019[update], National Grid invests over $3.5 billion a year in infrastructure in the United States, having increased its investments into "cleaner, greener technologies" in the previous few years. Examples of projects include an offshore wind farm in Rhode Island, and a battery storage project in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Also in 2019, the company spent $100 million to acquire solar and wind generation from Geronimo Energy, in partnership with Washington State Investment Board.
In the UK, National Grid has issued invitations to tender which include carbon savings as one of the weighted evaluation factors. Development of a replacement sub-station in Wimbledon was their first tender to include a weighting on carbon. Laing O’Rourke was awarded the winning bid, having demonstrated plans to reduce carbon emissions by 23% along with a £3m cost saving. Their carbon saving proposal equated to taking 7,600 cars off the road for a year.
Contract negotiations with Massachusetts gas workers represented by the United Steelworkers broke down in June 2018, and the company locked out more than 1,000 employees, cutting off healthcare and pay.
In November 2019, the company squabbled with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over the company's own moratorium on new natural gas hookups. Cuomo threatened "to revoke the company’s authority to operate its gas franchise in New York City and Long Island, for failing to provide customers with reliable service," according to Utility Dive.
Later, in February 2020, it was discovered that the company was constructing a new natural gas transmission line in Brooklyn from Brownsville to Greenpoint. Local activists have pushed back on the project questioning its necessity, safety, additional cost to customers and noting how it will work against the recently enacted New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
- Transmission system operator
- European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSO-G)
- European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E)
- ISO New England
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