Chongqing - Chongqing has experienced high temperatures for several days, with a persistent hot spell gripping the region. Electricity workers are never absent to guarantee electrical safety, even on hot days.
On August 16 at 12:00 a.m., the scorching sun pushed ground temperatures to an alarming 50 to 60 degrees Celsius. Amid this relentless heat, within the confines of the 220kV University Town Substation of the State Grid Chongqing Electric Power Company, a group of young employees, clad in yellow safety helmets and red vests marked for power transformation center operations and inspections, diligently scrutinized the equipment.
The substation stood exposed to the relentless heatwave, offering no respite from the blazing sun. Amidst the sizzling currents, the whirring of fans, and the constant chorus of cicadas, Wei Jiajia, a vigilant watchkeeper of the centralized control team, offered insight, “Due to Chongqing’s prolonged high temperatures, the municipal power demand has peaked, resulting in increased stress on the substation equipment. Consequently, inspections have become more frequent and extended, ensuring the safe and stable provision of electricity and the reliable operation of the power grid.” At that moment, Wei had just completed an inspection, his work attire drenched in sweat.
Despite being only 27 years old, Wei Jiajia boasts five years of experience. His sun-kissed complexion bore witness to countless hours under the unforgiving sun, his eyes heavy from enduring extended shifts during the summer peak. In his quest to ensure the substation’s safety and stability, Wei often finds himself responding to last-minute assignments, rushing from home to the scene. As a new father, the sight of his three-month-old son and his wife’s unwavering concern for him tugs at his conscience. Among his team, numerous other young individuals join Wei Jiajia in their mission. This team of 28 dedicated individuals shoulders the responsibility of overseeing 27 substations within the Western (Chongqing) Science City, guaranteeing a reliable power supply during the summer peak.
In their daily tasks, Wei and his colleagues meticulously document equipment data, measure equipment temperatures with infrared thermometers, inspect equipment with unmanned aerial vehicles, and maintain storage batteries. When confronted by extreme weather conditions, they find themselves on the frontline, ensuring the safe operation of electrical equipment. Their workday often stretches into the night, and they remain on call for a grueling 48 hours at a time.
Recognizing the challenges they face, the State Grid Chongqing Electric Power Company has established sunstroke prevention resting areas equipped with water and essential medications to safeguard the health and well-being of the inspectors.
These dedicated workers labor tirelessly, whether within the confines of the substation fence, atop transmission lines, or perched on power towers, demonstrating unwavering commitment to ensuring a continuous power supply. Their unusual work schedule, which often sees them working at night and sleeping during the day, is a testament to their dedication. Facing extreme weather conditions is a constant challenge. Still, their resolve remains unshaken, thanks in no small part to the understanding and support of their families, who stand by their side as they fulfill their duties under the scorching sun. Wei summed up their dedication, “We have grown accustomed to these challenging working conditions. Despite the harsh environment, we guarantee electricity supply to thousands of households. It’s unquestionably worth it.”
(Liu Meihui, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)
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