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  • What we do in the Electricity Industry

  •  UK Electricity transmissionNational Grid owns and manages the grids that connect people to the energy they need. In Britain we run systems that deliver electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities. We play a vital role in delivering electricity efficiently, reliably and safely.

    How does the UK electricity industry work?

    There are four main elements:

    • Generators produce electricity from coal, gas, oil and nuclear power plants and from hydroelectric plants and wind farmsElectricity can’t be stored efficiently so is generated as needed. We don’t own or operate any of these electricity generation plants.
    • Suppliers supply and sell electricity to consumers. They use the transmission and distribution networks to pass the electricity to homes and businesses.
    • The national transmission network, owned by National Grid,  maintains the flow of generated electricity through to the regional distribution networks.
    • Distributors own and operate the distribution network of towers and cables that bring electricity from our national transmission network to homes and businesses. They don’t sell electricity to consumers. 

     What do we do?

    We own and maintain the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales (Scotland has its own networks), balancing supply with demand on a minute-by-minute basis.

    The network carries electricity from the generators to substations where the voltage is lowered ready for distribution. Most of our network is overhead lines, underground cables and substations. We are responsible for balancing the system and managing generation output to make sure that it matches demand throughout the day, and that voltage and frequency are kept within acceptable limits.

    Generators, distribution network operators and suppliers pay us for the right to connect to our assets and to use our system to transport electricity on their behalf.

    What don’t we do?

    ·         Own or operate electricity generation assets in the UK

    ·         Own or operate electricity distribution networks in the UK

    ·         Buy or sell the electricity we transport

    ·         Sell electricity to end users in the UK.

    Are there any links to countries outside Great Britain?

    Our transmission system is linked by interconnectors to transmission systems in France, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. This means that ‘spare’ electricity generated in those countries can be used to meet demand in Great Britain, and vice versa. 

  • Electricity industry