State Grid faces 39b yuan repair cost for snow-damaged networks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2008, 12:00am

State Grid Corp of China, the monopoly power distributor for 26 provinces, suffered more than 10 billion yuan in direct losses from the recent snowstorms and says it needs more than 39 billion yuan to rebuild its networks.

The figures, cited by State Grid president Liu Zhenye in a speech last Friday, only covered known damage up to February 14, a spokesman said, adding they were by no means final.

The estimated infrastructure repair costs would be in addition to the company's 253.2 billion yuan of power grid expansion and upgrade expenditure budgeted for this year.

Total direct economic losses suffered by State Grid and the other monopoly operator, China Southern Power Grid, exceeded 18 billion yuan, with 36,056 power lines and 1,933 transformer stations damaged, State Electricity Regulatory Commission deputy chairman Shi Yubo said last Friday.

As much as 7 per cent of the nation's power generation capacity was idled last month due to a lack of coal and fallen transmission lines.

The closure of small and unsafe coal mines to avoid gas blasts and a reduction in railway and highway capacity due to snow and ice storms were to blame.

As of Monday, nine provincial grid networks still suffered from power shortages amounting to 4.2 per cent of the nation's capacity.

Power supply in the worst-affected provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi and Guizhou ranged from 78 per cent to 82 per cent of normal capacity on that day, up from 40 per cent to 57 per cent on February 1.

About 81.5 per cent of damaged power lines and 87.2 per cent of smashed transmission stations have been repaired. The commission aims to complete all grid repair work by the end of next month.

'We still have to answer the question of what level of protection will be considered appropriate and economically sensible,' Mr Shi said.

He said 20 millimetre power lines were 1.8 times as costly as 10mm ones while 30mm lines cost 2.6 times as much as 20mm cables.

Hong Kong-listed mainland power producer China Resources Power Holdings has shut its 1,738 megawatt Liyujiang plant in Hunan, which represents 14 per cent of its capacity, since January 17 after two power lines were damaged.

It planned to repair one of the lines this month to restore 70 per cent of the plant's output, a Citigroup research report said.

Power cut

State Grid's estimate of its direct losses from the recent snowstorms, in yuan: 10b yuan