UK needs to be more integrated with EU energy market, says National Grid chief

<p>Consumers would benefit from better links with the continent.</p>

The UK needs to be more integrated with the European energy market, the chief of National Grid said on Thursday (May 21st).

Steve Holiday says his recommendation is relevant no matter what happens in the pending referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.

He believes that consumers would benefit from subsea power links with Belgium and Norway – such connections would deliver wholesale electricity at a lower cost, helping to keep energy prices lower for homes and businesses over the next ten years.

Failing supply

The Financial Times reports that new links with Europe are being paid for in-part by the National Grid, a FTSE 100 company that is responsible for delivering energy across the UK. There is a rising concern that the UK's production of electricity is failing and we would be running the risk of blackouts.

According to Mr Holliday, the UK's ability to transmit power to and from the rest of th EU is increasing. In addition, moves to create a Europe-wide electricity market should be welcomed.

"It leads to lower wholesale prices and it's a good investment," he explained.

Government data indicates that the amount of electricity imported from the continent is on the rise. Last year, it jumped 42 per cent to hit a record of 20.5 terawatt hours.

The possible Brexit

With the new Conservative government has promised a referendum on EU Membership, Mr Holliday says it's important to assess the impact that the so-called Brexit could have on the UK power market – however, he did not declare his own stance on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU.

Financial results

The company's operating profit rose five per cent to £3.9 billion for the year to March 31st. However, pre-tax profit fell from £2.7 billion to £2.6 billion. The company also raised its recommended full-year dividend by two per cent to 42.87p.

Share prices on Thursday (May 21st) at the close of the London Stock Exchange were up nearly 8p from opening, bringing them to 909.1p.​

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