Power grid reconstruction starts in quake-hit region

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Reconstruction of the power grid in the quake-hit region in southwest China's Sichuan Province kicked off on Thursday as the power supply is expected to fully resume on Friday.

"Emergency repair work on the power grid has been completed, and we will now start the reconstruction as the current power supply depending on emergency equipment is very fragile," said Wang Shuxiang, general manager of the Sichuan Electric Power Corporation.

The power grid in the hardest-hit counties of Lushan, Tianquan and Baoxing was destroyed in the quake that hit on Saturday and claimed nearly 200 lives. Some 126,000 households were affected, according to Wang.

The power grid suffered an economic loss of about 688 million yuan (1.1 million U.S. dollars) in the earthquake, he said.

The reconstruction, which is expected to be completed within a year and a half, will cost at least 2 billion yuan, based on experiences following the Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008 that left 87,000 dead or missing, he said.

"After the reconstruction, the power supply, especially in the remote areas will be more stable than it used to be," Wang said.

Meanwhile, he added, electricity safety examinations will be carried out in chemical plants, traffic hubs, hospitals, schools, enterprises, settlements and coal mines in the region.

Electricity is expected to resume on Friday in Shuangshi, Dachuan and Baosheng -- the three Lushan County townships still without power supply.


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