Zhang Lujia felt a happy glow on Wednesday morning as Liu Qibao, Party chief of Sichuan province, Jiang Jufeng, governor of Sichuan, and Liu Zhenya, general manager of the State Grid Corporation of China, pressed buttons in the office building of the Sichuan Electric Power Corporation to mark the incorporation of the northern Ganzi grid into the main grid of Sichuan.
"It means several power-stricken counties in the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture will have ample power supply," said the middle-aged doctor with the Sichuan Electric Power Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan.
Before returning for the ceremony she had stayed for three months with workers building the grid in Ganzi in case they suffered from altitude sickness.
"I was shocked by the scarcity of power there. In Shiqu county in northwestern Ganzi, each household had enough electricity for just an hour a day," Zhang said.
Covering 247,900 square kilometers, Sichuan's Tibetan areas, which make up China's second-largest Tibetan inhabited region, have a population of 1.87 million people, 1.24 million of whom are Tibetans. Despite its large area, the construction of power grids there has lagged behind.
To right the situation, the State Grid Corporation of China, the Sichuan provincial committee of the Communist Party of China and the Sichuan provincial government jointly launched a grid construction project in Sichuan's Tibetan inhabited areas on November 4, 2011.
"They plan to invest 19.25 billion yuan ($3 billion) in grid construction in the province's Tibetan inhabited areas during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015)," said Wang Jinsong, an information officer with the Sichuan Electric Power Corporation.
Construction of the northern Ganzi grid started on March 30 this year in Kangding, Shiqu and Ganzi counties simultaneously.
More than 13,000 workers braved high altitudes, averaging 3,600 meters above sea level, to build the grid, which crosses Kangding, Daofu, Luhuo, Ganzi and Dege counties and six snow-covered mountains to reach Shiqu.
"Thanks to the construction of the grid, power will be available everywhere in Shiqu including the fixed residences of herdsmen in the county in 2015," Wang said.
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