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State-owned firms step up energy supply efforts

By Liu Zhihua and Zheng Xin | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-14 09:09
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Employees from a power company in Chuzhou, Anhui province, install a cable at an industry park earlier this week. [Photo by Song Weixing/For China Daily]

China's State-owned power giants are shoring up efforts to secure energy supplies for the national fight against the novel coronavirus, including preferential treatment for businesses that need support when resuming operation.

China Southern Power Grid has rolled out a slew of measures such as 24-hour power monitoring, to ensure electricity supply to medical institutions and other key clients on the front line of the epidemic prevention and control, including medical facilities, government agencies and protective gear production enterprises.

For small-and medium-sized enterprises that have difficulty in operation due to the epidemic, the utility firm will postpone charges for a specific period, in accordance with government regulations, to support their recovery.

For enterprises expanding production capacity to fight the epidemic, the company will remove the maximum electricity consumption cap required by existing charging contracts and will charge the excess amounts separately.

The company has also promised to maintain power supply to residents and businesses involved in the epidemic prevention and control even if they have outstanding bills.

China National Nuclear Corp has adopted strict measures to ensure stable supply of energy.

Statistics from CNNC showed it had generated more than 3.43 billion kilowatt-hours of nuclear power from Jan 24 to Feb 7, covering electricity needs of 150 million households daily.

More than 400 production units under the nuclear giant have already resumed production, with key projects such as Hualong One demonstration project and reactor unit 5 and 6 in Tianwan nuclear power plant resuming full operations.

Hydropower, wind power and photovoltaics power projects under operation are all in normal status, while other ongoing national key projects have also restarted construction gradually, which will help the upstream and downstream industries to resume work and production, CNNC said, adding it is resuming preliminary preparation work as planned for projects that are yet to start officially.

State Power Investment Corp, or SPIC, recently released 21 new measures for the orderly and safe resumption of work and operations, hoping to contribute to stable and healthy development of domestic economy through safe production.

The company has established an employee health reporting system on regular basis, enforced strict punishment mechanisms on those who violate epidemic prevention and control precautions, and strengthened security policies for all power plants.

Apart from regularly disinfecting workplaces to provide employees a healthy work environment, the company has canceled all large-scale gatherings, and resorts to online meetings and training as much as possible.

According to China Three Gorges Corp, some 6.18 billion cubic meters of water had been diverted to the lower reaches of the Yangtze River as of Feb 4, 2.5 billion cubic meters more than the same period last year, in order to meet the water and power demand while facilitating epidemic prevention supplies, as the novel coronavirus outbreak has affected the power supply in Hubei province.

The country's power suppliers are also gearing up to continuously restore the full-scale construction of key projects underway to make sure that companies can resume operations.

China's State Grid said it will restore its high-voltage direct current transmission lines traversing Qinghai, Henan and Jiangxi provinces, as well as new projects like transmission lines running from Northwest China's Shaanxi province to the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, the city affected the most by the epidemic.

It will also keep supplying power to manufacturers of epidemic control supplies facing difficulties in paying power bills on time during the epidemic, while advancing projects in poverty-stricken areas and fast-tracking bidding-related processes.

Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, said efforts of the State-owned energy companies to ensure power supply are every important for the fight against the epidemic and the healthy development of Chinese economy, because electricity is the basis for the economy and society to retain their vitality, especially under the current circumstances.

He suggested road transport, secondary only to railway transportation, of coal, a major source for power production in China, should be enhanced to further unleash power production capacity.

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