China government urges power use cut-back to ease crisis

By Xinhua

Beijing : Senior Chinese government officials held an emergency teleconference Sunday to discuss the severe power disruptions caused by prolonged snow, rain and cold weather.

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Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan opened the conference by outlining the massive disruption of the electricity network in more than half of the country.

“So far, 17 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have suffered blackouts, and power grids in central China’s Hubei, Hunan provinces, and south China’s Guizhou and Guangdong provinces have been seriously damaged,” Zeng said.

Tens of thousands of passengers have been stuck on rail lines after electric trains came to a standstill, said Zeng. Conditions have worsened to a level that “has seriously affected normal operation of the national economy and the people’s lives and production.”

Ma Kai, head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), urged local governments to improve power supply lines so that the electricity could be used as needed.

“In areas already hit by power shortages, high-polluting and over-producing enterprises must have their power strictly limited, and ordinary industrial enterprises should reduce their consumption,” Ma said.

“A 500-kv power tower in Guizhou province collapsed under mounting snow and the 220-kv transmission network has been largely destroyed, resulting in blackouts in 41 cities and counties,” said Wang Yumin, deputy chairman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

“As of Jan 26, there were still 18 500-kv electricity lines in central China’s power grid unable to work properly,” Wang said, urging departments to accelerate the repair work.

Railway Minister Liu Zhijun said his ministry had raised the daily coal transport from the planned 34,000 rail trucks to 36,000 from Jan 26, up 30 percent from a year ago, to help fuel power generators.