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China Daily Website

Power grid now covers all Yunnan households

Updated: 2013-01-29 21:21
By Li Yingqing, Guo Anfei in Kunming (

A power grid has covered all households in Southwest China's Yunnan province and improved working and living conditions in mountainous areas.

The milestone was reached on Jan 8, when the last 36 families without electricity received power in Yongsheng county, Lijiang.

These villagers were among the 2.25 million people from 563,000 households that had lived without electricity in rural, border areas in Yunnan.

These impoverished communities in places such as Lijiang and Zhaotong, mostly populated by people from various ethnic groups, live under harsh natural conditions and have little access to modern conveniences.

They have benefited from a 5.71 billion-yuan ($917-million) project started in 2006 by China Southern Power Grid's affiliated company in Yunnan to provide electricity to the entire province.

About 94 percent of Yunnan is mountainous areas. Ethnic groups live in sparsely dotted villages. Because of a poor power grid infrastructure, Yunnan used to have the biggest population living without electricity, compared with other southern provinces such as Guangdong, Hainan and Guizhou, and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

In Shudi village, which was the last place in Yunnan to be connected to the grid on Jan 8, residents celebrated the development.

Zhu Yongsheng, 50, said his family has a washing machine, television, electric rice cooker and lamps for lighting.

Zhu belongs to the Suli ethnic group. He said people had chopped down most of the trees in his village for cooking, lighting and keeping warm at night. Zhu’s family cuts down 15 fully grown trees a year.

The disappearance of trees has led to water loss, soil erosion and even mudslides. Irrigation has become difficult during dry seasons, he said

"Now, we will no longer cut down trees. People use electricity, instead of wood, to cook. Children can study under bright lighting," Zhu said.

Hu Qiuhua, another villager, said household appliances such as electric rice cookers and pressure cookers save a lot of time and allow him to focus on his interior decoration business.

As household chores become less time-consuming, Hu's family can afford to keep more sheep. They have 80 sheep and plan to raise 70 more this year.

Li Jiheng, governor of Yunnan, said the province has allocated 70 percent of its fiscal funds to improve people's lives over the past five years.

These investments have funded the construction of new roads, provided drinking water, radio and television access and libraries for villagers in rural regions, Li said.