Steve Holliday, the outgoing chief of the National Grid says the gap between electricity supply and demand this winter is “tighter than we would like” and called for more power generation to be added.

“There is a neSteve Hollidayed to build some more generation in the next few years. Hinkley Point (nuclear power plant) is part of that, but it is some way off,” Holliday said, adding “We have the tools we need to make sure we balance supply and demand in the coldest, darkest hour in the winter.”

National Grid is paying companies to switch off for periods of time, among other measures, in order to avoid shortages. The situation is exacerbated by the ongoing decommissioning of ageing coal and gas-fired power plants.

Holliday has overseen a consistent 10 per cent shareholder return each year since his stewardship commenced in 2007 and will be replaced by John Pettigrew, executive director of UK operations.