How does the National Grid work to supply energy to our homes?

barbed wire in grid formation

Our gas and electricity supply relies on a series of power plants and networks known as the National Grid. Discover what it is, how it works and how the ‘Grid affects you as an energy customer.

What is the National Grid system?

The National Grid is the UK’s transmission system for gas and electricity. For energy to be transported from power stations across the country, it has to pass through a system of networks and local substations operated by the National Grid. The “grid’, which is an essential part of the UK energy market, was established in 1933 and is currently based in Berkshire. It owned by National Grid plc (formerly National Grid Company) which is a separate gas and electricity utility company. 

How Does The National Grid Work?

The National Grid consists of a network of power plants and lines, gas pipelines, interconnectors, storage facilities, substations and distribution companies known as Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). The question is, how is electricity transported from power plants to consumers by the National Grid?

From the power plant, generators carry electrical current through transformers to increase the voltage to push the power along long distances. The electrical charge goes through high-voltage transmission lines across the UK to local DNOs. The electricity then connects to your house, passing through your meter to record how much you’ve used.

What are the benefits of the National Grid?

The benefits of the grid are:

  • Power stations can be based in less populous and remote areas of the country meaning pollution can be kept away from major cities 
  • If one power station needs maintenance, consumers can still be supplied from others around the country
  • More energy generation facilities increase efficient power flow and provide peace of mind to homeowners
  • Ofgem regulates the grid’s efficiency levels to ensure that savings are created for customers.

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