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Suqian's energy services give hearty zap to rural prosperity, urban living

By HAN RONGHUA and ZHUANG QIANGE | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-17 09:51

A farmer (left) addresses queries on power supply from State Grid employees at Sweet Apple Industry Demonstration Park in Suqian, Jiangsu province. WANG SONGZHU/FOR CHINA DAILY

Looking at the orchard he is in charge of, Li Yan is elated with the scene — bright red, round apples hang on the branches while workers carefully pick the apples and put them into fruit baskets.

After picking, the apples will be preserved in a cold storage room. By controlling the temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide in the storage areas, the respiration of the fruit can be suppressed, which helps maintain freshness, Li said.

At the Sweet Apple Industry Demonstration Park in Yanghe New Area of Suqian, a prefecture-level city in Jiangsu province, the bountiful harvest made him jubilant.

The park, introduced to the area in 2019 with an investment of 1 billion yuan ($138 million), covers 733.3 hectares. Able to produce some 50 million kilograms of apples annually, it is dubbed as one of the largest standardized apple orchards in Asia.

Yanghe, located in East China, has a favorable environment for apple growth and is developing a characteristic agriculture by focusing on apples and other fruits, embarking on a unique path in promoting rural vitalization.

"At present, our company has a cold storage area of some 5,000 square meters, storing 9,000 metric tons of apples for nearly half a year, which can be sold during Spring Festival," said Chen Fu, who is in charge of the orchard warehousing, adding that through staggered sales, they can earn an additional profit of 20 million yuan.

He said the good performance comes with the help of the high-quality power service provided by Suqian Power Supply Co of the State Grid. State Grid, a State-owned enterprise, is the largest utility company in the world. Crucial to the country's energy security and economic lifeline, it has recorded the world's longest hours of safe operation for its superlarge grid.

Recently, Li Kaichuang and Zhu Jintao from the Suqian unit walked into the orchard for electrical checks, helping to avoid any worries about electricity usage for the apples' sorting, processing and warehouse refrigeration.

Chen said with a sufficient electricity supply, they will have a bumper harvest this year.

"Since 2021, we have invested nearly 2.6 million yuan to enhance our power supply capacity, and we can fully meet the park's electricity demand," Li said.

"During the busy hours of fruit-picking and storage, we opened a 24-hour service channel, ready to provide door-to-door service at any time and ensure a safe power supply to meet electricity demand," he added.

With sufficient electricity, the region's refrigeration and preservation facilities are being optimized. To date, 106 such facilities have been built in Yanghe, with an additional storage capacity of over 21,074 cubic meters, largely improving the city's local cold chain logistics and processing capacity.

The State Grid unit's service not only covers rural areas but also the city's urban regions, said Zhu.

In urban areas, Zhu's agency provides a "four-in-one" service to allow power supply, meter reading, power fee charging and door-to-door service for every household.

In 2022, urban areas had 130 residential communities facing difficulties in receiving reliable electricity, either due to the unauthorized connection of electricity lines by some residents, or due to long-accumulated arrears in electricity fees from the real estate developers and homeowners, Zhu said.

The same year, the city government invested 500,000 yuan in building low-voltage support projects, while Zhu's company invested in building high-voltage support projects, helping solve energy problems for 35 communities and benefiting 16,951 households.

"After living here for almost 10 years, I now have consistent electricity," said Zhang Feng, a resident of one community that benefited.

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