National Grid reports profit jump as distribution business shines

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National Grid has reported a jump in profits as the electricity distribution business it bought two years ago grew strongly.

The networks company said on Thursday that it had seen a 15% rise in underlying operating profit to £4.6 billion, while reported pre-tax profit rose 4% to £3.6 billion in the year to the end of March.

It was helped by the company’s UK electricity distribution unit, which saw its underlying operating profit soar by 39% to £1.2 billion.

The unit’s results were helped by the fact that National Grid did not own it for all of the previous year.

The unit reported that its network reliability was over 99.99% during the period, despite facing heavy snow and high winds during part of the period.

“This has been another year of significant progress and strategic change for National Grid with good results demonstrating excellent execution against our key priorities,” said chief executive John Pettigrew.

He said that the company had invested a record £7.7 billion in its infrastructure over the last year but National Grid revealed that it plans to spend even more – over £8 billion – in the current financial year.

The company said that it would return a further £100 million to customers earlier than it had to, in order to help them through the cost-of-living crisis.

This is money that National Grid had earned from importing and exporting electricity through cables that are connected to European countries. It would have had to pay the money anyway but has chosen to do so early.

It comes just days after the boss of regulator Ofgem warned that Britain is being too slow to connect new solar and wind farms to the grid – meaning that projects get stalled for longer than they should.

This is putting the drive for all of Britain’s electricity to come from zero-carbon sources by 2035 at risk, Ofgem warned.

It is a time of immense transformation for the companies behind the UK’s energy infrastructure, including National Grid.

Mr Pettigrew said: “As we look to the future, there has never been a more exciting time to be at the heart of the energy industry.

“The strategic pivot we announced in 2021 is now complete, enhancing our critical role at the heart of the energy transition.”

He added: “The opportunities for future growth are considerable, and we will continue to work closely with governments and regulators to drive the energy transition forward, achieving positive change for our communities and consumers, and a clean, fair and affordable energy future for all.”

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