Row of lightbulbs hanging in a room with orange walls - used for the National Grid story 'Britain’s electricity explained: new monthly report shows how we use power'

ESO: Britain’s electricity explained - new monthly report shows how we use power

National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) team managed enough electricity through Great Britain’s network in January to power 4,500 billion kettles, or 23 billion washing machines, all at once. Their new monthly report provides this and other insights into how much electricity we’ve used, plus how green it was.

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The engineers in National Grid ESO’s control room balance supply and demand for electricity in Great Britain on a minute-by-minute basis. Their new monthly report will provide insights into how much electricity we’ve been using, when demand peaks and average carbon intensity for the month.

In January, they worked around the clock to manage 22 thousand gigawatt hours of electricity through Great Britain’s network; equivalent to powering over 4,500 billion kettles or 23 billion washing machines all running at the same time. That would be an awful lot of cups of tea or clean laundry.

The control room team plays an important role in influencing the mix of power too, using the generators and network assets available to deliver safe and reliable electricity, always choosing the cheapest mix for consumers.

National Grid’s Head of National Control Roisin Quinn says: “The report shows that January is typical of the changing nature of Great Britain’s electricity, with a reduced reliance on coal power stations (there are only five remaining in GB) and almost a quarter of electricity coming from wind power – trends we expect to continue as we move towards our ambition of being able to operate carbon free by 2025.”

To view National Grid ESO’s real time data, download their app for Android or Apple, or visit

Infographic of 'Britain's Electricity Explained: January 2020'


Download the January report