Information on the national grid

Updated February 21, 2017

The National Grid is one of the world’s largest energy companies. The National Grid operates a variety of companies across the U.K., and since the year 2000, in parts of the Northeastern U.S.


The National Grid came into existence following the privatisation of the U.K.’s utility sector in the 1980s. In 1986 the government owned British Gas company was privatised with a sale of shares in the company, according to the National Grid’s U.K. website. In 1989 the British Government sold shares in the U.K.’s electricity network with the National Grid Company plc taking control of the transmission system for electricity in England and Wales and joint ownership of the U.K.’s system connected to Scotland and France. After merging with the U.K. natural gas supplier Transco the National Grid Transco group changed its name to National Grid Electricity Transmission plc in 2005.

U.S. Operations

The U.K.’s National Grid Company moved into energy delivery in the U.S. in 2000 with the purchase of the New England Electricity System. The Funding Universe website reports the main purpose of the National Grid Company in the U.S. is the delivery and transmission of energy to commercial and residential premises. Electricity is supplied by the National Grid Company to around 3.2 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Funding Universe explains the National Grid Company also acquired the Niagara Mohawk company allowing the company to move into natural gas supply within the Northeastern U.S.

U.K. Operations

According to the National Grid website the company is responsible for delivering gas to around 11 million customers in the U.K. through a system of local gas distribution companies. The company is also responsible for operating the gas supply network throughout Great Britain and the electricity supply system in England and Wales.


According to Funding Universe, the National Grid Company controls and maintains around 84,000 miles of both overground and underground energy distribution lines in the U.S. Of these lines, the National Grid website reports around 14,000 miles are electricity distribution lines. In the U.K., the National Grid Company owns a property portfolio of more than 1,445 buildings in 653 locations.


With the acquisition of the New England Electrical System, the National Grid Company also branched out into the manufacturing of telecommunication systems. Funding Universe explains NEES Communications manufactures fibre optic technology for high-speed telecommunications.

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About the Author

Paul Cartmell began his career as a writer for documentaries and fictional films in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Working in documentary journalism, Cartmell wrote about a wide variety of subjects including racism in professional sports. Cartmell attended the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University, gaining degrees in journalism and film studies.