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Guizhou declares blackout emergency
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Guizhou Province last night declared a top-level emergency as most areas in the province are without electricity after the power network was severely damaged during the worst snowstorm in five decades.

A total of 3,895 electricity lines had been damaged by yesterday while 472 power plants across the province have been paralyzed since the blizzards rampaged central, eastern and southern China starting on January 13, the provincial government told a news conference at 9pm yesterday, Xinhua news agency reported today.

Unusually cold temperatures, snow and sleet blanketing much of these regions have kept thousands of trucks and trains – loaded with coal, food and passengers – from getting to their destinations in the most severe winter weather in 50 years.

Blocked roads and railways have also choked coal shipments, magnifying energy shortages that have caused power blackouts in 17 of the country's 31 provinces.

Power supply capacity in Guizhou plunged nearly 50 percent to 3.06 million kilowatts by Monday from 7.2 million kilowatts on January 17 after some key power plants suspended operation because of the storm and lack of coal deliveries, the report said.

Electricity in 13 counties and cities in Guizhou had resumed by noon yesterday while electricity in 19 places have been partially restored, the report said.

However, 12 counties and cities in the province are still in darkness.

Meteorologists forecast sleet and a low of minus five degrees Celsius today, said the report.

(Shanghai Daily January 30, 2008)

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