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In the rapidly changing energy landscape of the 21st century, National Grid plc stands as a crucial linchpin.

As the principal operator of the United Kingdom’s electrical and gas transmission infrastructure and a prominent energy company in the northeastern United States, National Grid holds a pivotal role in energy security, accessibility, and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The article explores the heart of National Grid, shedding light on its history, operations, financial outlook, the industry dynamics that it contends with, and its prospects in an increasingly renewable and digitally-enabled energy system.

 

National Grid: Powering communities for almost seven decades

National Grid was established in 1954 to oversee the operations of the UK’s electricity system. Over time, it expanded into the gas sector and international markets, most notably the northeastern US, where today it serves over 20 million customers.

Its operational excellence coupled with strong financial performance paved the way for it to become a FTSE 100 company. Now, National Grid is embarking on its most transformative journey yet, enabling the shift towards a cleaner, smarter, and more resilient energy system.

 

An inside look at the national grid's operations

The operations of National Grid can broadly be categorised into three main segments:

  • UK electricity transmission: National Grid owns and operates the high voltage electricity transmission system in England and Wales and as the UK’s Transmission System Operator, it is also responsible for balancing supply and demand of electricity across the entire UK, ensuring that the electricity system remains reliable and efficient.
  • UK gas transmission: Similarly, its UK Gas Transmission unit manages the transportation of gas through the high-pressure transmission system across the UK. National Grid ensures there is a continuous and uninterrupted supply of gas to the millions of consumers reliant on this vital energy source.
  • US regulated: In the United States, National Grid delivers electricity and natural gas to millions of residential and commercial customers in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Here, National Grid operates in a regulated environment, where its profits are determined by rate case agreements with state utility commissions.

Together, these segments drive three complementary goals – reliability of energy supply, affordability for consumers, and sustainability for a low-carbon future.

 

National Grid shines in financial performance

 

Analysing graphs on a digital tablet over paperwork.

 

National Grid's financial performance for the fiscal year 2022/23 demonstrates the company's robust position in the energy sector and its significant growth and adaptation in the dynamic industry. Key highlights and performance indicators from the full-year results include:

  • Underlying operating profit: The company achieved an underlying operating profit of £4.6 billion, marking a 15% increase at actual exchange rates (10% at constant currency).

This growth is attributed to a full year of contributions from UK Electricity Distribution, efficient operational performance across the US, and higher contributions from National Grid Ventures (NGV).

  • Statutory operating profit and EPS: The statutory operating profit for continuing operations rose by 12% to £4.9 billion. The increase was primarily due to the gain on the sale of NECO and the Millennium investment, among other factors. Statutory EPS for continuing operations increased by 22% compared to the previous year.
  • Dividend: The company recommended a final dividend of 37.60p, bringing the full-year dividend to 55.44p, an increase of 8.77% and in line with the company's policy.
  • Capital investment: There was a record capital investment across energy networks, amounting to £7.7 billion for continuing operations, up by £1.0 billion at actual exchange rates (8% at constant currency).
  • Strategic developments: National Grid completed significant strategic moves, such as the sale of the Narragansett Electric Company and a 60% stake in UK Gas Transmission.

In April 2023, they established a new business unit, Strategic Infrastructure, to deliver major electricity transmission projects.

  • Efficiency savings: The company delivered £236 million of Group efficiency savings during the year, bringing cumulative efficiency savings close to the target of £400 million by 2023/24.
  • Customer and community support: National Grid maintained a reliability of over 99.9% across its electricity and gas networks and provided substantial support for communities and customers through the energy crisis.
  • Regulatory progress: The company made significant regulatory progress, including the acceptance of Ofgem's Final Determinations for the RIIO-ED2 price control and approvals for various investment projects in support of state climate acts.
  • Net zero commitments: National Grid is actively contributing to the energy transition, with £5.6 billion of green capital expenditure aligned to EU Taxonomy principles and a reduction in Group Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 7.5% compared to the previous year.

The financial outlook for National Grid remains strong, with a commitment to a cumulative capital investment of up to £40 billion and an asset growth CAGR of 8-10% backed by a robust balance sheet. The company expects underlying EPS for 2023/24 to be modestly below the 2022/23 levels due to changes in the UK Government's capital allowance regime.

These results and strategies highlight National Grid's commitment to growth, operational efficiency, and its role in the energy transition, positioning it strongly within the industry

 

​Industry trends affecting national grid's journey

National Grid operates in an energy sector undergoing considerable change influenced by trends and challenges such as:

  • Decarbonization: The move toward clean energy is affecting all aspects of National Grid's operations, from the integration of renewable energy into the grid to the transformation of the gas network for greener gases like hydrogen.
  • Digital transformation: With digitalisation sweeping across the energy sector, the Grid is increasingly moving toward integrating smart and digital measures to enhance efficiency, minimise losses, improve grid reliability, and meet changing consumer needs.
  • Regulatory environment: As a regulated entity, National Grid must continually adapt to evolving regulatory policies, be they related to price controls or decarbonisation targets.
  • Energy affordability: Balancing the trifecta of reliability, sustainability, and affordability is an ever-present challenge, especially in a period of economic uncertainty and disruption.

 

National Grid's path to a greener, smarter energy future

National Grid’s future lies in driving the transition to a low-carbon energy system that leverages digital technology for enhanced flexibility and consumer empowerment. Key focus areas are:

  • Grid decarbonisation: Investments in renewable energy integration and moving towards a net-zero emissions grid are at the centre of National Grid's grand plan.
  • Empowering the energy consumer: National Grid is also keen on driving initiatives that put customers at the heart of the energy transition, from new tariffs that incentivise off-peak electricity usage to the rollout of smart metres.
  • Investing in infrastructure resilience: As weather patterns become more severe due to climate change, National Grid is investing in infrastructure resilience measures, such as storm hardening, to safeguard energy supply reliability.

 

National Grid share price: Latest price trends

 

Close-up of financial figures in a newspaper.

 

As of December 11, 2023, the National Grid's share price shows interesting figures. The share price for National Grid (NG.) Ord 12, 204/473p was recorded at 1,060.50p for selling and 1,061.00p for buying.

This marks a slight change of 1.00p (0.09%) from the previous close. The stock has experienced some fluctuation over the year, with a high of 1,181.00p and a low of 918.60p. The company holds a market capitalization of £39.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.61, and a dividend yield of 5.23%​​.

 On the NYSE, under the symbol NGG, National Grid plc was trading at $67.43, down by 0.04 (-0.06%) at that time.

Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has varied between $56.41 and $74.48. The market capitalization on this platform was recorded at $49.741 billion, with a PE Ratio (TTM) of 15.47 and an EPS (TTM) of 4.36. The forward dividend and yield were noted as 3.54 (5.24%)​​.

These figures provide a snapshot of the company's stock performance, reflecting both the London and New York stock exchanges. Investors need to consider these details in the context of the company's overall performance and market conditions when making investment decisions.

 

Final thoughts

National Grid remains a fundamental driver of energy reliability, affordability, and sustainability. With its vast experience, strong financial performance, and commitment to a cleaner energy future, National Grid is well-positioned to lead the energy transition.

Indeed, the path ahead may be fraught with challenges, but they also represent significant opportunities for innovation, customer engagement, and business growth. With its strategic investments and operational focus, National Grid is embracing its role as a crucial enabler of an increasingly green and smart energy system.

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.”

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