November 14, 2019 / 8:03 AM / 21 days ago

National Grid first-half profit beats market view

FILE PHOTO: Migrating starlings fly at dusk past electricity pylons silhouetted by the sunset of a clear autumn evening in the Kent countryside, in Graveney, Britain, October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

(Reuters) - National Grid (NG.L), which is facing an investigation over widespread outages in Britain a few months ago, posted a first-half profit that beat market estimates boosted by its business that transmits electricity in the UK.

Underlying profit before tax at the London-listed grid operator dipped 4% to £785 million for the six months ended Sept. 30, but was above the £748 million that analysts had expected investors.nationalgrid.com/~/media/Files/N/National-Grid-IR-V2/results-centre/2020/Analyst%20Consensus%20Rollup_8%20Nov%202019%20Final.pdf.

National Grid, which runs Britain’s energy systems, also set a new target to reach net zero for its own emissions by 2050 for a cleaner energy future, in line with the country’s goal.

“This objective will be supported by work in other areas, such as offering further energy efficiency programmes for our U.S. customers, proposals for renewable natural gas and hydrogen blending programmes,” Chief Executive Officer John Pettigrew said.

The pledge reinforces calls from politicians, corporations and organisations around the world to tackle global warming and the disruption to climate conditions.

The FTSE 100-listed company ran into trouble after a blackout due to a lightning strike in August that left more than a million customers including homes, businesses, a hospital and Newcastle Airport without power.

National Grid said while it believed the electricity system operator and transmission network operated in line with licence obligations, the company did not underestimate the disruption and inconvenience caused by the outages.

The company also faces the risk of losing its licence to operate its gas franchise in New York City and Long Island, with Governor Andrew Cuomo having said this month that it had failed to provide “adequate and reliable service.”

With 12 days to submit its response to regulators, National Grid said it was confident it would be able to address the issues raised by Cuomo.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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