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What is the National Grid?

It has been operating since 1933, when it first started bringing electricity throughout the country and into homes. In 1946, 80% of households were connected to the electricity grid with pre-wired electricity supply in homes. In the 1950s, construction began on a new “super network”, which included 42 meters of new masts and more than 4,500 new transmission lines.

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Currently, the National Grid plc is the firm chosen by Ofgem to manage the UK network and a completely separate gas pipeline. The point at which power enters your home occurs at the meter box. Should yours be damaged in any way, get a replacement Electric Meter Box from

The National Grid owns and maintains a high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales. Scotland has its own electricity grid, run by SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) and the SP Energy Network.

Where is the National Grid?

The network is extensive in the UK, so if a local power plant is damaged, others can supply power to its territory.

There are two control centres – one for the north of England, and the other for the south. Their exact location is confidential.

This is also connected by interconnectors to France, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands, which means that countries with an electricity surplus can send it to the countries with shortages.

Why is Scotland more difficult to connect to the electricity network?

A generator is a device at the centre of most power plants that converts mechanical power into electricity.

In order to connect to the National Grid, the generator must pay a transmission fee – but the fee varies depending on location.

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Generators that are far from the demand centre will incur more costs because it costs a great deal more to carry more energy – the upkeep of long power lines obviously means more maintenance is required.

The further the plant originates from London and the Southeast (which are the highest populated areas) – the bigger the cost.

The aim of higher costs is to encourage electricity companies to invest in generating capacity where it is needed most.

But it is not always easy to build factories in areas with the lowest transmission costs. Ironically, getting a planning permit for a power plant close to a densely populated area is very difficult, so National Grid is trying to impose something on one side, where planning policies try to force those on the other.

Why is the price so expensive?

Electricity is sent via National Grid cables at extremely high voltages – between 132,000 and 400,000. This benefits National Grid to not have to continue to invest in strengthening the high voltage networks needed to transport long-distance power. That’s why generators in the south of England pay less – sometimes even receiving payments. Unlike across most of Europe, where generators pay a fixed fee to connect to the entire network.

Longannet, a Fife power plant that burns coal to produce electricity for the electricity grid, pays around £ 40 million a year just to be connected to the National Network solely because of its location. That’s relatively far from the highest demand centres.

Suppliers – energy companies like Scottish Power – also pay fees to remove power from the network and send it to their customers. Ofgem figures show that this equates to around 4% of household energy bills.

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