Chinese thankful for country’s power grid stability after New York city power outage

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/14 22:08:40

A Horse Drawn Carriage on Sunday drives past 7th Avenue during a major power outage affecting parts of New York City. Subway stations plunged into darkness and the billboards of Times Square suddenly flicked off as New York's Manhattan was hit by a power outage on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Chinese netizens expressed gratitude for the country's stable electrical grid, after a widespread power outage hit the heart of Manhattan in New York City, around 7 pm local time on Saturday, and affected tens of thousands of residents. 

According to power service company Con Edison, more than 44,000 people were affected by Saturday's outage, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday. The incident took place on the anniversary of a 1977 blackout in which most of the city lost power. New York was also part of a massive power outage in 2003, The Washington Post said. 

New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio is directing city agencies to look into the cause of the blackout, CNN quoted his twitter account as saying on Sunday.

The Guardian quoted the New York City Fire Department saying that a transformer fire on Saturday evening at West 64th Street and West End Avenue was the cause for the massive blackout.

"It seems that the 'beacon of freedom' ceased to shine this very night, at least for quite a while," wrote a Chinese netizen in a comment that was widely supported on social media. Many netizens expressed pride in living in China, where power outages in major cities are extremely rare. 

In a widely circulated online video, Yan Xudong, a senior technician in Central China's Hubei Province, recalls how in 1982 he was one of the first hydro-line workers to be suspended from high-voltage 500 kV cables to conduct tests that help ensure secure long-distance electricity transmission in the country.

The video, first released in 2017, shows Yan hanging from a special trapeze as he tests a high-voltage cable while the power is on back then, a testing technic that saves tens of million yuan by not having to first cut the power.  

Since then generations of Chinese crews have worked hard to make sure power is maintained throughout the grid in all sorts of difficult weather conditions.

In 2015, 39,800 people were the last to be connected to China's power grid that now serves every part of the country.  

Due to its extreme geography, maintaining and repairing the power grid in China is more difficult than in most countries. The country has suffered only one major blackout, due to a massive snow storm in 2008. 

Many say the country's stable power supply is due to the government's efficient overall planning. Power grids in western countries are often operated by private companies which only invest in places where they can make profit, leaving many rural places left out.

A netizen commented on Sina Weibo that China, with a population of 1.4 billion, is the first and only country in the world that provides power to everyone in the country, no matter how remote their home.  

New homegrown technologies have also contributed to the country's power security.

A smart switch system, codenamed ZW32, which was jointly developed by the Quanzhou Institute of Equipment Manufacturing Haixi Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in East China's Fujian Province and Fujian Hongke Power Technology CO, also known as the Holystar, is able to independently determine the type of breakdown that has occurred in the power supply and quickly report that information to a power maintenance crew.

Newspaper headline: NYC outage sparks debate


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