We run the electricity distribution network that provides power to customers in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
We move electricity to and from homes and businesses over our network. We don't sell electricity, neither do we operate power stations.
As a large business in our region, we directly employ over 2,200 people, and also engage contractors to work with us to keep the lights on in our area.
What we do
We take electricity from National Grid's transmission network (which connects the larger power stations) and from smaller generators (such as windfarms) that are directly connected to our network.
Through our network of overhead power lines and underground cables, we distribute the power used by homes and businesses.
Who we are
We are a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which owns other energy companies - mainly in North America.
As part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy our vision is:
To be the best energy company in serving our customers while delivering sustainable energy solutions.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy is itself a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Mr Buffett is famous for his long-term approach to investing and for his relatively conservative approach to running businesses.
That approach is well suited to a business like ours, which requires a lot of capital investment in assets that will last a long time.
Caring for the environment
Here at Northern Powergrid we are committed to promoting environmental awareness, best practice, and legal compliance amongst all staff. Our Environmental Policy Statement reflects this engagement. We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and have developed a strategy to manage the direct local environmental impact of our activities. This includes our carbon footprint, the risk of noise, water and land pollution, waste recycling, and the care for wildlife. We also manage the visual impact of our overhead lines, balancing the network requirements with our stakeholders’ input.
Our electrical network will play a key role in the low-carbon economy. Meeting the UK’s s carbon-reduction targets will bring substantial change in the generation and demand of electricity. Our region is very active in developing wind and solar generation and we continuously aim to improve the services we provide to generation developers connecting directly to our network. Furthermore, we expect our customers to use new technology in the future (such as heat pumps, solar panels and electric vehicles) that will place increased and new demands on our network, and we see our role in this changing context as one of facilitation, by adapting our network.
Caring for our community
We understand that, during a power cut, some customers may need additional support. That’s why we provide a Priority Services Register. There are many different ways that we can help our priority service customers, which includes keeping you as up to date as possible through calls or text messages, sending out our Customer Support Vehicle to provide hot drinks and snacks in your area, and providing a ‘winter warmer’ pack full of useful things to keep warm and safe.
At Northern Powergrid we not only aim to support our customers and communities during a power cut: everyday, through our partnerships with the British Red Cross and National Energy Action, we offer extra support to our customers when they need us.
Our volunteering programme gives our employees the opportunity to support their local communities. Through our Global Days of Service volunteering programme, employees can receive funding from the business for their chosen local community group. Our company volunteering programme sees our employees attend events that we carry out in partnership with both the Trussell Trust and Ahead Partnership, where staff can help support their local food banks and can help to inspire school students to pursue paths in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.
Through our schools safety programme we promote safety and raise awareness of the dangers surrounding electricity distribution to school children in our area. Our School Safety website allows us to reach even more children than the 26,000 that our school safety advisors visited in the 2014/15 school year.
Through our publications, our Priority Services Register, our Citizens Advice Bureau Fuel Debt Advisor, our support for community foundations and our employee volunteering, we are guiding our customers to save money, keep warm, stay healthy and safe.
Leading the way to the low-carbon future
In 2014, we completed a major four year smart grid demonstration project, the Customer-Led Network Revolution. One of the flagship projects funded under the Low Carbon Network (LCN) Fund, which aimed to kick start the radical change needed to make the UK's low carbon energy sector a reality. The project generated important new learning, from trials with real customers on real networks, and was at the forefront of research into how UK electricity networks can rise to the challenges presented by a low carbon future.
As one of the most significant smart grid projects ever undertaken in the UK, CLNR has generated important new learning on technology deployment and customers’ energy practices that has enabled Northern Powergrid to develop a route map to guide the development of smart technology to systems to 2050.Customer-Led Network Revolution
We do not see innovation as a department or a side-line of our business. We see innovation as integral in all areas of our business culture.
We perform routine innovations on our network to ensure we are constantly improving our capabilities to meet new demands.
We are dedicating more time and effort to the following areas:
What are our network charges?
The cost of our service is called ‘distribution use of system charges’. They are not billed direct to customers, instead we charge your chosen electricity supplier for using our network to transport electricity to your door and depending on the type of meter you have installed.
For domestic customers and small businesses our charges are generally not visible to you, included in the bill you receive from your electricity supplier. We charge your supplier based on a daily fixed charge and for the units you consume.
For industrial and commercial customers our charges may be identifiable in the bill you receive from your electricity supplier, and we charge your supplier based on daily fixed charge; time of use unit charges; the amount of capacity you have reserved on our network and reactive power charges.
Our charges make up around 6% of a typical dual-fuel domestic energy bill. If you would like to find out more about our costs then please visit our use of system charges page.
Details of what makes up your energy electricity bill can be found on the regulators’ website. ‘Network charges’ include the charges issued by the Transmission Operator, as well as the Distribution Operator (us and our peers). The category ‘Network charges’ also includes the gas network costs if you are looking at a ‘dual- fuel bill’ rather than an ‘electricity bill’.