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Behind the hotline: connecting thousands of lights

By Li Jiaying | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-24 13:23

Wang Zheng, head of the distribution network operation command team at State Grid Suqian Power Supply Co, and his colleague inspect power lines during the Spring Festival holiday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Let's keep a close eye on the pending work orders, if we stay vigilant, our customers' problems can be solved in a faster manner," said Wang Zheng, head of the distribution network operation command team at State Grid Suqian Power Supply Co, on Feb 18.

This year's Spring Festival marks the 20th year of Wang's service. Initially recruited as the first university graduate for Suqian's 500 kV substation, he spent nearly 8 years working there before transitioning to distribution network operation as the deputy team leader. In 2018, with the establishment of the company's command center, Wang Zheng was temporarily reassigned and has remained there for the past 5 years.

The command team handles various tasks such as processing repair work orders, government service requests, hotline inquiries and other service tasks.

"Every year around Spring Festival, our workload increases significantly, averaging around 30 to 40 work orders per day. Sometimes, the phone calls are so relentless it's like hearing phantom voices," Wang said.

Suqian, a city with a significant population of migrant workers, sees a surge in electricity-related inquiries and repair requests before the Spring Festival as people return home.

"Our team's job is to promptly address customer inquiries and coordinate with relevant departments for swift resolution, providing customers with satisfactory responses," Wang said.

"Sometimes, customers call directly to the hotline, and their urgency, combined with their lack of understanding of our internal processes, can lead to emotional confrontations. The operators often have to manage and process negative emotions, sometimes even shedding tears," he added.

Back at the office after finishing an emergent repairing task in the morning, Wang dived back into work. Besides repair coordination, his job also includes managing work orders and municipal service tasks.

"Let's go to the canteen, it's almost lunchtime," he invites his colleagues. While hastily eating lunch, he continues to respond to work-related messages.
At 3:00 pm, it's time for the team meeting. Wang, along with his colleagues, analyzes and discusses recent work order statuses. These meetings often go on live, with differing viewpoints leading to spirited debates.

After the meeting, there's an important task ahead — preparing a reunion dinner for the team. "Our team members can't go home for the New Year's Eve dinner every year. The team is like a family, and since they can't go to their own homes, I, as the 'head of the family,' will cook a reunion dinner for them in our office," Wang said.

In the small office kitchen, amidst rising smoke, Wang skillfully prepared his signature dishes.

"You can't celebrate the New Year without dumplings," he said.

By 7:00 pm, as neon lights flicker outside, laughter and clinking glasses fill the team's canteen. Those who were heatedly debating in the meeting are now like a close-knit family. After a brief moment of joy, the team returned to their desks, ready to tackle the night's workload.

As the clock inches toward 10:00 pm, Wang's work was interrupted by phone buzz.

"Son, when are you coming home?" Wang's voice softens as he leans back in his chair: "I'm sorry, Dad, I won't be able to make it back this year either. Tell mom too, I'll try to bring my wife and kids back on the third day of the New Year."

The rambling phone call brings a hint of longing to Wang Zheng's eyes. Counting with his fingers, he realized it's been 20 years of working through the Chinese New Year, with only a handful spent celebrating with his parents.
Reflecting on his years of duty during the Chinese New Year, Wang said he always puts the customers first.

"We never shy away from any problem because we know that for every problem we solve, we meet one customer's electricity needs. During Spring Festival, please rest assured that as long as customers need us, we're always here," he said.

Behind this hotline connects countless homes with warmth amidst the winter's chill. Here's to a new year, where Wang Zheng and his team wish nothing but the best for all.

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