National Grid Should Be Broken Up, MPs Say

National Grid Should Be Broken Up, MPs Say

A committee of MPs has called for National Grid, the private company which owns and operates the country's gas and electricity networks, to be broken up.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee said there was growing evidence of "conflicts of interest" and the FTSE 100 firm's operation of the UK's power system should be handed to an independent body instead.

The report identified several areas of concern, including the UK being dependent on one company's systems and technology.

It was particularly concerned that National Grid owned stakes in electricity cable links to Europe while also managing the country's electricity network and by its role within the energy regulator, Ofgem.

The Government has already done work on the possible creation of an Independent System Operator (ISO).

But the committee said it also favoured regional bodies taking greater control of power flows from the growing number of local generation sites - such as wind farms and other renewable sources.

It declared that capacity was currently being poorly managed.

Committee chair, Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, said: "National Grid's technical expertise in operating the national energy system must be weighed against its potential conflicts of interest.

"The ISO model has worked in the USA. It is time for it to be brought to these shores.

"Local energy is here, with astonishing growth in generation connected directly to regional networks.

"Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) remain somewhat blind to their energy flows and passive in managing them.

"DNOs must transition to a more active role as Distribution System Operators so that they can use smart technologies to manage ever-more complicated energy flows."

In response, National Grid said: "There is little evidence that an ISO model would provide any benefits that would justify the cost to households, potential disruption to much of the energy sector, and the risks to security of supply such uncertainty could create".