Power grid operator National Grid has reported that its annual profits have more than doubled to £3.4bn.
The company, which maintains and invests in the infrastructure that distributes power, said pretax profit jumped 107 percent in the year to the end of March.
Much of the increase came from National Grid’s £7.8bn purchase of Western Power Distribution (WPD). Earlier this month, WPD was fined £15m after its support of vulnerable customers during power outages was deemed “totally unacceptable”.
Excluding one-off costs, National Grid’s underlying pre-tax profit rose 16 per cent to £3.1bn.
The energy industry is facing intense scrutiny as rising gas and electricity bills put household finances under increasing pressure.
The government is being urged to announce a windfall tax for North Sea oil and gas producers who have enjoyed higher profits as energy prices have risen.
In announcing its results on Thursday, National Grid said it would become the largest investor in the transition to a green economy in the FTSE share index.
John Pettigrew, CEO of the national network, said the company wanted to balance this by keeping customer bills low.
It comes during a time of transition for the company, which has agreed to sell one of its units to the government to establish a new authority that will oversee the network system.
The company will invest £24bn in green projects to decarbonise power grids in the UK and elsewhere over the next five years.
It is part of a £30bn to £35bn investment plan.
“This is a record level of investment for National Grid, I think it makes us the largest investor in the energy transition on the FTSE.
“It just gives you an idea of the scale of investment that we will be making in the next few years.
“Of course we are going to try to do it as efficiently as possible to keep customer bills low.”
In the Queen’s speech last week, ministers included plans for a new authority to operate the electricity system.
As a result, the government will buy the Electric System Operator arm of National Grid from the company.
“We’re very happy actually,” Pettigrew said.
“From our perspective, it is a relatively small part of the National Grid, but it will nonetheless play a significant role in the energy transition.”
He said the deal is expected to be completed by 2024. The sale process is starting at the moment, but things will move rather slowly until new laws are passed by parliamentarians.