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Cold snap triggers city to turn up heat early

By Zhou Huiying in Harbin | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-28 09:29

The city of Heihe in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province began supplying heat to its residents on Sunday, five days earlier than usual.

"I already felt the warmth when I touched the radiator," said local resident Ma Dandan. "The thermometer in my room reached 23 C while the lowest temperature was around 3 C outside.

"It is forecast that temperatures will drop sharply from Wednesday," she said. "However, now I don't need to worry about my family members catching a cold, especially my 4-year-old son and my parents who are over 60."

The heating supply in the city will stay on through April 30 and is pegged at 30 yuan ($4.20) for each square meter of a property.

Wang Hongguo, deputy general manager of the city's heating supplier, said the company had completed an overhaul of heating facilities across the city before Sunday and had reserved over 470,000 metric tons of coal, with a coal storage rate of over 50 percent.

"To respond to changes in weather and heating emergencies in a timely manner, the company has also set up a work plan for the production of heating and emergency repairs, which can help workers detect and fix hidden problems as soon as possible," said Wang.

Due to the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in Heihe, urban areas started citywide static management on Sept 20.

"Under COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control requirements, over 350 staff members of the company have been working under closed-loop management instead of going home," Wang added.

To ensure heating supply this winter, the Heilongjiang Provincial Housing and Urban-Rural Development Department has since May carried out a comprehensive investigation and rectification of hidden problems in heating source security, heating exchange stations, network operation and the temperatures of residents' homes.

The department coordinated with coal mines and rail services to guide heating suppliers to sign coal purchase contracts and railway transportation support agreements in advance.

As of Sept 14, heating suppliers in the province have reserved over 6 million tons of coal, with a coal storage rate of about 45 percent, the department said.

To guarantee energy supplies, China Railway Harbin Group said it has taken effective measures to transport coal for power generation.

The group has given priority to the loading of coal for power generation and heating and boosted coal imports to meet rising demand from power producers and heating suppliers.

The peak period of coal transportation is expected during the National Day holiday, and daily coal loading may reach over 5,000 cars, the group said.

Residents in Mohe, China's northernmost city, had their heating switched on earlier this month, marking the beginning of their eight-month heating period.

The region, regarded as the coldest in China, usually sees winters last eight months. Its annual average temperature is — 3.8 C and the record low was — 52.3 C in 1956.

Residents in Mohe pay 38.5 yuan to heat each square meter of their homes.


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