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Snow-plagued Zhejiang to restore power grid next month
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China's snow-hit Zhejiang Province expects to restore its trunk power grid at the end of March as industrial electricity demand will soar after the Spring Festival holiday, the provincial power grid company said.

Consecutive weeks of snow since mid January collapsed 12,753 pylons and damaged 9,946 meters of power transmission lines and 22 transformer substations in the eastern province.

In total, 1.83 million homes in nine cities were affected and 8,753 villages suffered power cuts after snow destroyed power supply facilities.

During the Spring Festival holiday that started on Feb. 6, more than 30,000 technicians from the province's power companies have been working to repair the ice-damaged power grid. Electricity has been restored to 95 percent of the homes that had suffered blackouts.

Despite the efforts, electricity was still unavailable in 628 villages of six towns where rugged terrain hindered the transport of heavy repair equipment and other materials.

"The province is stepping up efforts to restore its 500 kv (kilovolt) trunk power grid," said a provincial power grid company spokesman. "However, it is most complicated to repair 500 kv power lines because workers have to erect iron towers weighing many tons in the mountains."

He said the company would first ensure power supply to residents and the trunk power grid was expected to resume operation at the end of March.

Freaky winter storms have plagued southern China since mid-January, leading to widespread traffic jams, structural collapse, blackouts and crop loss in 19 provinces. It had also killed at least 80 people and affected about 100 million residents, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)

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