Army supports battle to repair snow-damaged power line in central China

Updated: 2008-02-10 15:58

WUHAN - Some 3,000 soldiers and workers are braving freezing cold in snow-covered mountains in central China to fix a power line linking China's powerhouse of the Three Gorges Dam to the Central China State Grid.

"We are determined to fix the 500-kilovolt line by the end of February. Strenuous repair works are being carried out in deep mountains some 1,000 meters above the sea level, covered with 60 cm of snow," said Tang Wenquan, general manager of the Hubei Electric Power Co.

Tang said that the snow disaster, the worst in five decades, has damaged more than 20 km of power line and 27 pylons along the line since January 23.

He said that over 600 People's Liberation Army soldiers and 2,300 repair workers have been working flat out to clear snow and ice on the mountainous roads to fix the damaged lines.

The line has been dubbed an "electricity highway", helping to ease power shortages in Hubei and Jiangxi provinces since 2004. The bad weather this year has not only cut off some electricity transmission, but also made it difficult for the transportation of coal from mines to local power plants in those two provinces. But no mass blackouts have been reported.

Power generated from the Three Gorges Dam, the country's largest hydro-power project, is used by 11 provinces and municipalities in central, eastern and southern China.

Wang Lizu, an official from the State Grid said earlier that power output from the Three Gorges has a daily output of 92.4 million kwh. Several of its customer provinces have reported power disruptions from the dam, because of damage to transmission lines.

The Central China State Grid has mobilized 100,000 workers to fix 39 major power transmission lines since late January to guarantee power supply in central China.

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