Grid will be in full operation by end of March, says chief
Josephine Ma in Beijing
Technicians repair 6,500 damaged power lines
Beijing yesterday said 35 per cent of the power lines damaged by the snowstorms remained out of service while about 10 million phone users could not connect to their networks.
Government technicians have repaired 6,544, or 65.4 per cent, of the 10,012 power lines toppled or damaged in the disaster, state media said. The report said 519 of the 725 substations damaged by the disaster have resumed operation.
Southern Power Grid chairman Yuan Maozhen yesterday pledged that all damaged power lines would be in operation by the end of March. The Southern Power Grid mainly supplies electricity to five southern provinces - Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan .
Until Saturday, 6,788 power lines and 832 substations run by Southern Power Grid were damaged at one point, leaving 22.59 million people in 90 counties living in darkness.
Mr Yuan said 4,719 of the damaged lines and 665 substations had resumed operation, while two of the 90 affected counties were relying on diesel for power generation.
Xinhua also reported that 68.4 per cent of grids under the State Grid Corporation were back online.
State Electricity Regulatory Commission officials yesterday said electricity supply in Hunan, Jiangxi, and Guizhou remained unstable, while there were power shortages in Yunnan and Guizhou on Friday.
Coal stockpiles can meet the demand for electricity generation for 11 days on average, but coal reserves at 30 power plants were enough for only three days of operation.
Xinhua yesterday reported that coal miners were working overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday to ensure fuel supply.
Some 64 per cent, or 2,882, of the nation's coal mines are operating during the holiday, double the number a year ago, according to National Workplace Emergency Management Centre.
Power cuts caused by coal shortage amid the snowstorms prompted President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to order coal producers to ensure stable coal supply to power generators.
Power shortages affected at least half the nation's 31 provinces. Coal is used to generate about 78 per cent of the mainland's electricity.
Meanwhile, the National Development and Reform Commission sent a team to investigate the reasons for blackouts in Chenzhou .
China News Agency quoted an official from the team as saying the nation should improve its preparedness for power emergencies in the future.
Grid designs and power lines' snow and ice resistance should also be improved, officials said.
The snowstorms have inflicted an economic loss of 1.1 billion yuan on the telecommunication industry.
About 24,000 base stations remained affected by power cuts, while 14,000 of them rely on diesel power generators for operation.
The government said most of the affected base stations were in remote areas.