Transmission line maintenance workers in icy weather

By Zhang Peijian and Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, 02 18, 2018

Long Yongfu and his colleagues set out for work at 7:30 in the morning. Their job is to make a routine inspection of the transmission lines in the mountainous area and troubleshoot problems. These workers are from the Chengnan Power Station under the Yuyao Power Supply Company. [Photo by Zhang Peijian/]

Winter is icy cold in Zhejiang province. An overnight snow turned the Yanwo Mountain, at an altitude of 400 meters, completely white. The snow lay thick on the ground, with an average depth of 16 centimeters, a record level in Ningbo city.

Long Yongfu is a transmission line maintenance worker of the Chengnan Power Station under the Yuyao Power Supply Company. He and his colleagues have been working very hard this winter to ensure power supply in the mountainous area.

A team of nearly 40 technicians set out for work at 7:30 in the morning. They make a routine inspection of local transmission lines and other power supply facilities, most of which lie in the heart of untraversed mountains and forests.

There is a vast expanse of bamboo in the mountains. In snowy weather, they can become a major "killer of transmission lines."

Many bamboos are weighed down or broken by thick layers of snow. The transmission lines set up next to these bamboos can easily become twisted or broken, as well. Moreover, when the snow melts, the elasticity of bamboos bouncing could also break the lines. Over 90 percent power failures in this area are caused by such "troublesome" bamboos.

While repairing the damaged lines, Long and his colleagues have to clean up the snow on the bamboos as well. They cut off weighed-down bamboos that could threaten the nearby power facilities.

"We must be very careful when working on the plants, as a cut-off bamboo can be as sharp as a knife when letting it go," said Long.

He recalls witnessing a terrible accident a few years ago in which a local farmer was stabbed in the neck by the sharp end of a bamboo end and died immediately.

The workers make a living out of their skills. Long has worked in the power station for 12 years, and it is self-evident that his job is difficult, strenuous and even dangerous.

For Long and his colleagues, several hours on their feet is nothing unusual. They cannot have their meals on time. They take some milk and bread with them in case they are hungry on the way. In snowy weather, some sections of the winding mountain roads are too dangerous for vehicles to proceed, so the workers have to walk long distances to reach the destination.

There is a Home for the Aged located in the mountainous area. One day this winter, the bamboos weighed down by the snow crushed the transmission lines in the area, causing a blackout in the Home, where more than 400 elderly people faced with bitter cold that could have been life-threatening.

Receiving the message, Long and his colleagues rushed to the scene. In order to speed up the repair, they worked round-the-clock without eating or sleeping. "We couldn't relax until the power supply was totally restored," Long said.

Power failures and related problems occur frequently in winter, so the workers have to hurry back and forth from dawn to dusk during the busy season. However, they never utter any complaints.

On their way home, the tired men doze off in the vehicle. While the darkness settling over the mountain path, everybody knows there is the same tough job waiting for them somewhere tomorrow.

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