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Britain’s National Grid flags challenge from cost-of-living crisis

by wrich gbaf

(Reuters) -Britain’s National Grid on Thursday reported a rise in its annual pre-tax profit, helped by higher prices of gas and electricity, but the energy distributor said rising inflation and a cost-of-living crisis posed a “significant” challenge.

The industry’s regulator in April raised the cap on the most widely used tariffs by more than half, as gas rates hit peaks amid the Ukraine war. The decision compounded troubles for Britons who were already reeling under soaring energy prices.

National Grid, which runs Britain’s energy systems and operates a gas franchise in New York City and Long Island, posted a 16% jump in underlying profit before tax from continuing operations to 3.06 billion pounds ($3.78 billion) for the year ended March 31.

The company expects earnings for 2022/23 to be broadly flat on the reported figures and said it maintains its financial outlook over the five-year period to 2025/26. Its shares dropped about 1.7% to 1,224.5 pence in early trading.

“The world has changed dramatically over the last year, with the tragic war in Ukraine, a global economic slowdown, and rapidly rising inflation,” Chief Executive Officer John Pettigrew said.

“The UK and U.S. communities we serve are facing significant cost-of-living challenges.”

British inflation in April leapt to its highest annual rate since 1982, while U.S. consumer price growth slowed sharply in April.

($1 = 0.8087 pounds)

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Uttaresh.V)

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