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Carroll School of Management

Steve Holliday

Chief Executive Officer, National Grid

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston

October 24, 2013

TAKEAWAY: An unusual business model

We’ve got to bring these challenges together—this aging infrastructure, this clean energy, this resiliency against extreme weather, and affordability. So I’m talking about how we modernize our systems, and some of you may have heard a conversation we are trying to engage customers and stakeholders in about the utility of the future.

And when I talk about that, I think about four characteristics. And the first of those is encouraging customers to use significantly less energy. It’s an unusual business model. But it’s true, because of the way that we’ve been able to work with regulators in both the U.K. and the U.S., and remove the drivers of volume from our business, it allows us to work with our customers to drive down energy demand.

There’s a group that did a report last year that our own Tom King from here worked with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, looking at saving energy. Fifty-seven percent of energy consumed in the U.S. is lost, lost along the way to heat and leaks. That, I’m afraid to let you know, puts the U.S. pretty much at the bottom of the pile in terms of energy utilization. If that could be halved by 2030, that’s worth $327 billion a year. Imagine pumping that back into the economy. And, of course, a carbon reduction of four billion metric tons a year, just a phenomenal opportunity.