Call for study into safety of power systems

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 July, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 July, 1993, 12:00am

A DETAILED study should be carried out to see if power transmission systems are hazardous to health, legislators said yesterday.

Local groups had already voiced concern about a thermal power station at Black Point after press reports from abroad indicated excessive exposure to electromagnetic (EM) fields could cause cancer.

Operated by the China Light and Power Company (CLP), it will be linked by power lines of 400 kilovolts to existing transmission networks.

One link will connect it to the Castle Peak power station. The other will connect with Sha Tin, Tsz Wan Shan and Tseung Kwan O.

In a bid to put members' minds at rest, government officials said all cables would be erected at a minimum distance of 7.6 metres above ground.

''This brings the system in line with international safety guidelines, and a working group has been formed to closely monitor the situation,'' said Patrick Fung Yun-kai, of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.

Quoting research statistics from the United States, CLP said there was nothing to indicate that EM fields caused cancer.

But Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen pointed out the figures quoted were national figures, and made no comparison between people living directly under the cables and those living far away.

CLP's senior transmission projects engineer, Wazir Arculli, said domestic electrical appliances, such as shavers, all emitted EM fields.

Jimmy McGregor and the United Democrats called on the Government to conduct a study, and compare the health conditions of the two groups.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury, Stephen Selby, said a higher increase in water charges for non-domestic users was intended to remove the unintentional cross-subsidy by domestic users.

He said cross-subsidy had existed for decades, and the move was to implement a recommendation made by the Director of Audit.

Mr Selby rejected calls to replace the subsidy with a one-off increase, saying the Government would prefer a more reasonable approach.