Speech by Tan Rongyao, Spokesman of State Electricity Regulatory CommissionFebruary 5, 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here for today's News Briefing by the State Council Information Office.
Since the beginning of the winter season last year, amid a drop in temperatures across the nation, the electricity load for winter consumption has been growing rapidly. As a result, the shortage of power coal has become enormously acute. Power plants have seen their coal stockpiles dwindling. An increasing number of generators have suspended operations, resulting in a widespread shortage of power supply in the country. The maximum electricity gap nationwide came close to 40 GW, accounting for 10 percent of the controlled power load. Meanwhile, the central, east and southern parts of the nation, especially Guizhou , Hunan and Jiangxi Provinces , have been hit by cold, rainy and snowy weather conditions. The thick ice and snow that covered transmission line have taken a toll on local power facilities with varying degrees of damage. That has posed an immense challenge to the efforts to ensure safe power production and orderly electricity supplies.
On January 19, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission of China (SERC) issued An Emergency Circular on Combating Blizzards, calling for local branches and offices of SERC and power companies to initiate their contingency plans in a timely fashion so that they would properly mobilize efforts to fight the disaster, provide relief and ensure safe and stable operations of power systems. On January 21, SERC decided to implement its contingency plan immediately and put its branches and power firms concerned on high alert. SERC's Office for Electricity Emergency Response also moved into an emergency mode with its staff on duty around-the-clock. On January 22, SERC convened a national video conference call on safety in electricity production. The meeting made special arrangements in response to the current cold, rainy and snowy weather and shortage of power coal supplies. SERC required the industry to prepare proper contingency responses to accidents, ensure sufficient inventory of power coal, properly mobilize crews for emergency repair and make appropriate efforts to combat the disaster and provide relief.
In order to implement the instructions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and improve the guidance for the efforts to mitigate the impact on electricity operations in disaster-hit areas, the National Leading Group for dealing with Massive Blackout took a decision and reported it to the State Council. Then the Leading Group initiated a Massive Blackout Response Plan (Level I) in Guizhou Province on January 29 in light of the extent of the disaster in the province, where the power load loss caused by the disaster had exceeded 50 percent. Earlier, a Massive Blackout Response Plan (Level I) was activated in Hunan Province .
Due to the fall-out from the wild weather, the 500-kilovolt network of the provincial grid in Guizhou was virtually paralyzed. At its worst phase, the provincial grid operated in five separate divisions. The lines for low-voltage distribution under 220-kilovolt suffered extensive damage. In aggregate, the following facilities were suspended: 13 lines of 500-kilovolt and 5 corresponding substations; 62 lines of 220-kilovolt and 27 corresponding substations; 268 lines of 110-kilovolt and 165 corresponding substations. As a result, 50 counties and cities across the province suffered power failures. At one time, power supply in the city of Guiyang was in danger of being cut off completely. Due to the power cuts, 13 traction substations for some sections on the Hunan-Guizhou electric railway could not work properly. Guizhou has stopped its power supply for Guangdong Province .
The power grids in Hunan and Jiangxi Provinces have also suffered severe damage. At its worst point, Hunan 's grid was connected to the Central China Grid through just 1 line of 500-kilovolt. Within the province, 18 lines of 500-kilovolt were suspended as a result of the disaster, accounting for 60 percent of the total lines of 500-kilovolt. At one time, the grid in west Hunan was operating while being disconnected from the main grid. 220-kilovolt lines in Hengyang , Yongzhou and Chenzhou were suspended across-the-board, resulting in a widespread power failure. As a consequence, when it dropped to the lowest point, the power supply load for the entire province represented 40 percent of the pre-crisis normal level of load. The 19 lines of 500-kilovolt in Jiangxi 's grid were all damaged by the disaster. At its worst phase, Jiangxi 's grid was operating with just 1 line of 500-kilovolt being connected with other grids. The lines of 500-kilovolt across the province were all suspended. The grid for northwest Jiangxi was disconnected from the provincial grid. All the 220-kilovolt substations in the grid for southern Jiangxi ground to a halt. When it plunged to its bottom, the power supply load for the entire province accounted for 53 percent of the pre-crisis normal level of load. The power failure took a toll on two traction substations along the Yingtan-Xiamen electric railway.
In addition, the harsh weather has hit with varying degrees of damage such provinces and regions as Zhengjiang , Anhui , Fujian , Guangxi , Yunnan and Guangdong .
Thanks to the proper leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the well-orchestrated mobilization and guidance of SERC, the concerted efforts of power companies, the damage to the grids and the magnitude of massive power failures in the disaster-affected areas have been effectively mitigated. According to statistics, the State Power Grid and China Southern Power Grid have deployed a total of nearly 130,000 workers for emergency repair missions. Until February 3, Guizhou 's power grid had repaired a total of 21 lines of 220-kilovolt and 19 corresponding substations; 169 lines of 110-kilovolt and 105 substations. With the exception of a few lines of 220-kilovolt that have yet to recover, other lines of 220-kilovolt in Guizhou 's grid have returned to normal. And power supply has been back on track. Among the 50 counties and cities across the province that had suffered power gaps, 27 have enjoyed a complete return to power supply, 13 have seen a partial return, and intensive repairs missions are being carried out in 10 other counties and cities. The power supply load for the entire province has risen to 53 percent of the pre-crisis normal level of load. Power supply for 9 railway traction substations has been resumed.
The three lines of 500-kilovolt connecting Hunan 's grid with the Central China grid have all resumed operations. The 220-kilovolt system for northern Hunan grid with Changsha as its center is now operating under normal conditions. With the exception of Chenzhou City , a city in southern Hunan , which is still suffering a massive power failure, the power supply load for the entire province has returned to 53 percent of the pre-crisis normal level of load. Power supply for 4 railway traction substations has been resumed. Jiangxi 's grid is now operating by being connected to the Central China grid with one line of 500-kilovolt. The 220-kilovolt system for northern Jiangxi grid with Nanchang as its center is operating in a largely normal manner. Partial power supply is restored for southern Jiangxi through lines of 110-kilovolt. To ensure normal railway operations, power supply for two traction substations are being delivered in an emergency manner.
With the implementation of such steps as demand-side management and orderly power consumption, the trend for dwindling inventory of power coal has been reversed. The stockpiles have started to rise steadily. By February 3, the power coal stockpiles nationwide had hit 24.06 million tons, an increase of 2.99 tons over the lowest level of inventory. 18.78 million tons of coal stockpiles are available at the power plants that are covered by the State Power Grid. 5.28 million tons of coal inventory are available at the power plants that are covered by China Southern Power Grid. The power load that is subject to rationing nationwide has dropped from 39.97 million kilowatts to 12.26 million kilowatts.
In light of the instructions of the State Council's Emergency Command Center for coordinating contingency measures for coal, oil and power supply, and transport and disaster relief in the country's snow-hit regions, we will seize the opportunity when the power supply load will run relatively low and the weather is favorable during the Spring Festival period. We will mobilize emergency repair crews from all parts of the country to assist the disaster-hit regions. We will strive to resume the power supply systems at and under 110-kilovolt through emergency repair missions so as to maintain social stability and ensure that the people across the nation will enjoy a happy and amicable Spring Festival holiday. In the wake of the holiday, we will gradually resume the transmission systems of 500- and 220-kilovolt in order to ensure the normal operation of the economy.
With that, my colleagues and I are ready to take your questions on the efforts to combat the disaster and ensure power supply.