National Grid’s £7.8bn electricity deal given green light

National Grid’s £7.8 billion acquisition of Britain’s largest electricity distribution business has been cleared by the UK competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had decided not to refer the completed takeover of Western Power Distribution (WPD) from US energy giant PPL Corporation for an in-depth investigation.

National Grid, which manages the UK’s power infrastructure, announced the acquisition in March as part of a shift towards electricity and greener energy.

It came amid a flurry of deals to pivot its portfolio, with National Grid also announcing the sale of its Rhode Island utility business – The Narragansett Electric Company – to PPL for 3.8 billion US dollars (£2.8 billion).

And National Grid – the company that helps keep Britain’s lights on – revealed at the time it would launch a process later in the year to sell a majority stake in National Grid Gas (NGG).

The moves mean electricity assets will make up around 70% of its portfolio, compared to 60% before the deals, according to National Grid.

The CMA had launched a merger inquiry into the WPD acquisition in June, though the deal had already gone through.

National Grid said it was “pleased” the regulator had given the deal the green light.

It will update investors and analysts on plans for WPD, alongside the wider group, at a capital markets day event on November 18.

The refocusing of National Grid’s business puts it on an electrification path along with the rest of the country as gas boilers are phased out and electric cars become the norm.

According to Government projections, around 27% of the UK’s energy needs will be met by electricity or renewables by 2035, compared to 23% in 2018.