Power networks damaged by snowstorms in January and February have been fully restored, the nation's two grid companies said over the weekend.
The last batch of some 600 officers and soliders who helped in the reconstruction of power grids in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture of Guizhou Province, are given a traditional farewell by local women before they returned to their bases on Saturday.
State Grid Corporation of China said on Saturday that it had completed the reconstruction of grids in Hunan and Zhejiang, the two worst-hit provinces.
"A total of 266,000 workers were sent to repair the power systems. We also sent 3,500 power generators to snow-hit regions to ensure power supply during the Spring Festival," the company said in a statement.
Power networks operated by State Grid in 10 eastern and central provinces were badly damaged during the snowstorm. About 172,000 high-voltage pylons collapsed under the weight of ice and snow and 153,000 km of low-voltage transmission lines were damaged.
State Grid, responsible for power supply in 26 provinces and regions, suffered direct losses of 10.5 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) from the disaster.
Experts are now conducting research on upgrading the design standards of the nation's power grids, State Grid spokesman Lu Jian told reporters on Saturday.
The company, which has issued 20 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) of corporate bonds, will spend 253.2 billion yuan (US$36.2 billion) in the construction of power grids.
China Southern Power Grid also said on Saturday that all its networks destroyed in the disaster have been restored.
The company said its power networks currently have a maximum combined load of 69.88 gigawatts, 12.7 percent higher than the same time of last year.
The two grid companies were earlier told by the government to employ every means necessary to restore all power networks by the end of March, and also to look into upgrading design standards.
High-voltage power lines in the country are designed to withstand about 10-15 mm of ice. But during the snowstorm, the average was more than double that, and up to 60 mm in some places.
Some analysts said if higher standards are employed, it would substantially raise investment costs.
(China Daily March 10, 2008)