National Grid parades privatisation credentials by saying customers are much better off than in the nineties

Oliver Gill
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National Grid was privatised in 1990 (Source: Getty)

National Grid, the firm that runs Britain's electricity network, today hit back at claims the country would be better off if it was nationalised.

The cost of maintaining Britain's high voltage network is 30 per cent lower than it was prior to privatisation in 1990, National Grid said.

The defence comes after a government-commissioned report concluded the role of managing the UK's electricity grid would be better off passed to a public sector body. The report, by Oxford University professor Dieter Helm, followed a Labour manifesto pledge to nationalise National Grid, something it said would save Britain's households around £220 a year.

Announcing its half-year results, National Grid also highlighted the importance of its overseas operations.

Chief executive John Pettigrew said:

Our improved performance in the US is encouraging, with this part of the business now representing an increasingly important part of our investment proposition.

Read more: Ofgem targets savings for proposed £840m grid upgrade for Hinkley Point

Operating profits fell from £1.5bn to £1.4bn with profit before tax slumping from £965m to £847m.

Shares in the FTSE 100 firm fell over three per cent following the announcement.

The firm said it had upped its capital investment over the six months to September, now topping £2bn.

"Having reshaped our portfolio in the UK, we continue to expect our electricity and gas transmission businesses to deliver high levels of performance," Pettigrew said.

Read more: Profits surge at National Grid after year of record capex

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