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.
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 put our customers and their communities first. During sustained periods without power, our vans provide additional support to vulnerable areas, where our customer ambassadors pay particular attention to customers on our Priority Services Register. We make sure our priority service customers are comfortable and kept updated during and after a power cut. Our partnership programme with the British Red Cross saw them contact almost 500 of our priority service customers and visit those most in need in 2012-13. Our partnership with the Trussell Trust supports customers by providing much-needed food boxes in times of crisis.
Our charity and sponsorship programme supports community engagement. Through the Global Days of Service volunteering programme, employees can receive funding for their chosen local community group.
We see over 40,000 children every year to promote safety and raise awareness of the dangers surrounding electricity distribution. Our mascot, Vic Voltage, and our booklet ‘Keep Warm and Stay Safe’, developed in conjunction with National Energy Action, not only promote safety around our equipment, but also saving money, keeping warm and staying healthy.
Leading the way to the low-carbon future
We are proud to be leading the UK’s largest smart grid initiative, the Customer-Led Network Revolution. Our project assesses a range of network technology and customer flexibility solutions to find the most cost-effective ways to support the take-up by our customers of low-carbon technologies and the connection of increasing amounts of renewable energy generation to our network.
More than 12,000 customers are taking part, many of whom have homes and businesses equipped with smart meters, solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicles. Our project is already informing our thinking on how we design and build our network to support the uptake of these new low-carbon loads and will help ensure our customers continue to receive a safe, secure and affordable supply of electricity both now and in the low-carbon future.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: