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China Continues Efforts to Restore Power Supply in Snow-hit Areas

As most Chinese people celebrate the Spring Festival, some 27,000 citizens have been racing against the clock in southwest China's land-locked Guizhou Province to repair the power facilities severely damaged in the worst snow in half a century.

A complete recovery of power network can be expected at the end of March, and electricity will be available in all villages of Guizhou, said Tang Siqing, general manager of China Southern Power Grid Guizhou Branch, on Monday.

Freaky winter storms have plagued southern China since mid-January, leading to widespread traffic jams, structural collapses, blackouts and crop losses in 19 provinces, leaving at least 80 people dead and 100 million people affected, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Guizhou is the worst hit, where ice damaged more than 5,000 power transmission lines and about 700 transformer substations, accounting for 78 percent of the total power supply facilities in Guizhou, and 17 million, or nearly half of the province's population were affected, said Tang.

Repairing efforts of the past days, however, had brought 3,441 power transmission lines back to function by Sunday noon. And 503 out of the 700 transformer substations had resumed operation.

Power grid in south China's Guangdong Province has been mobilizing 20,000 workers to repair the last 126 ice-damaged power transmission lines and five transformer substations in the province, with an objective that power supply could be normalized by March 5, according to a source from Guangdong Power Grid Company.

In Fujian Province, a neighbor of Guangdong, the provincial electrical power company last Thursday launched a new campaign aiming at bringing electricity back to the remaining 63,000 homes that suffered power cuts after the snowy weather destroyed power supply facilities in the province's northwestern areas, said local sources.

In central China's Hunan Province, more than 70 workers worked consecutively for seven days to repair the Gaohuai power transmission line responsible for supply of electricity to downtown areas of Chenzhou City and a section of the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line.

By 6:00 PM Sunday, power supply was normalized with the Chenzhou section on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway, a north-south rail trunk route.

Snows of consecutive days led to collapse of 12 iron towers on Gaohuai power transmission line, which in turn caused power cuts in Chenzhou and large number of passengers being stranded at railway stations because of suspended operation of Chenzhou electrified railway section of Beijing-Guangzhou railway.

Residents in Chenzhou, a city of about four million in Hunan, suffered about two weeks without electricity and tap water.

More than 5,000 electricians, including 2,000 summoned from other provinces, were struggling to repair damaged power lines and pylons. Power supply did not resume until the wee hours of February 6, the eve of Spring Festival.

Before 6:00 PM Sunday when supply of electricity was resumed on the Chenzhou section of the Beijing-Guangzhou railway, train service providers were forced to switch to internal-combustion engines for traction when trains reached Chenzhou.

Information from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission disclosed that as of Sunday, 6,544, or 65.4 percent of the 10,012 power transmission lines damaged by the unprecedented snowy weather, had been repaired.

In the meantime, out of 725 ice-damaged transformer substations, 519 had been repaired.

(Xinhua News Agency February 12, 2008)

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