Inertia, frequency, voltage, thermal, constraints…these are just a few of the factors that go into the highly complex process of balancing the grid.

But don’t worry if you’re not up to speed on the detail – balancing the grid is a highly complex activity – and we aim to provide the basics in this section of Electricity Explained. 

The role of the ESO is to ensure electricity supply meets demand second by second, which is what we mean by ‘balancing’ the grid.  

And when you think about how demand rises and falls throughout the day, how it is affected by weather and seasons and then about supply too, how that’s unpredictable and can change at a moment’s notice, it’s clear we need a lot of tools at our disposal.  

Electricity is transported to all corners of Great Britain. And properties like voltage and frequency must be carefully regulated across the whole network to ensure power generated at scale in industrial power stations can be safely used by domestic appliances plugged into wall sockets. 

We see to it this happens smoothly and efficiently, working with industry partners to provide ‘ancillary services’ that keep our electricity supply reliable, affordable and safe.