China’s Shaanxi Seeks Partnership To Transform Ghana’s Power Sector

When people talk about electric power in China, one name that often comes up is Shaanxi, for this is the province that harbors the most extensive power distribution network company in China and nurtures the most dynamic electric power market of the country.

With its headquarters in the Chinese city of Xi’, Shaanxi Regional Electric Power Group is a large-scale electric power company which supplies power to more than 1,000 townships in 70 counties and districts in 9 municipalities of Shaanxi province.

With 6.38 million power customers, SPG proudly covers 76 percent of the provincial territory, or an area of 142,500 square kilometers, and provides electric power service to more than 20 million people in its catchment area.

In Ghana, SPG works with its strategic partner BXC Ghana, a partnership which has seen the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) received over US$200 million in investment to boost its infrastructure to ultimate make the local power distributor more efficient.

The two have been instrumental with the quest to turnaround the fortunes of the local power distributor via the ECG Private Sector Participation programme which seeks to bring ECG to world-class standards.

Key performance of SPG

In terms of performance, it is worth to note that by the end of 2017, SPG’s electricity sales exceeded 40 terawatt hours (TWh) with its total assets valued US$4.78 billion and registered capital increased to US$1.6 billion.

Also, its operating revenue topped US$3.19 billion, out of which US$350 million covered its taxes and profits, making SPG now stand as China’s largest and best-performing distribution company.

Taking grid development as its cornerstone, SPG has built more than 528 substations which are between 35-110kV and these are equipped with 933 primary transformers with a total capacity of 13,728 MVA as well as 956 primary lines which have a total length of over 14,400 km by the end of 2017.

SPG has more than 590 power plants and stations connected to its grid with a total installed capacity in excess of 7,500 MW, including 909 MW of solar power and 752MW of wind power.

Service improvement

 SPG strives to become a responsible and respected modern electric energy service supplier with an emphasis on customer needs. Its Corporate Social Responsibility reports in recent years have demonstrated SPG’s efforts to fully live up to its service commitments by streamlining business processes, improving business efficiency and creating new payment methods.

Improved user experience has been reflected in a high third-party customer satisfaction rate of 81.88 percent in 2017, which is a tribute to SPG’s dedicated service over the years. Cutting-edge management and technology are the core elements to safeguard our operations.

SPG has been recognized for its outstanding uninterruptable power supply service for the Shenzhou 11 Manned Spaceship project and other key duties. SPG has been scaling up its Live-Line Working and Condition-based Online Monitoring, 502 substations now running unmanned.

SPG has also been engaged in building a development community with openness and inclusiveness by actively implementing big data strategies and information technology, leading the strategic alliance of key equipment technology innovation of intelligent distribution grid.

SPG has built an automatic smart meter maintenance system and is popularizing the application of diversified payment methods, smart meters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle line-patrolling, and line inspection robots.

SPG strides towards an IT-based and intelligent group by putting in place a four-level information ‘highway’ connecting the provincial, municipal, county, and station levels through dispatching and management networks which make grid management increasingly data-based, standardized, and fine-grained.

SPG has been actively involved in exchanges and cooperation with the EDF Group of France, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), Singapore Power Group (SPGS), and has built a technology sharing platform with local tertiary institutions such as Tsinghua University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, and North China Electric Power University.

Delivering value to the customer

Devoted to solving the “last mile” of the power distribution network, in 2017, SPG increased the urban and rural electricity reliability to 99.97 percent and 99.85 percent respectively.

SPG earnestly provides universalized service and fulfills its social responsibility. It has implemented projects such as “Harmonious Electricity Entering Households”, “Photovoltaic for the Poor” and rural network renovation & upgrading and has reached the target of providing every household with access to electricity in the province in 2010.

SPG has formed a modern corporate governance structure consisting of the board of directors, the board of supervisors, shareholders and management. Building blocks of SPG’s business involve power supply, power generation, auxiliary power services, and multi-business, having about 24,000 employees.

The group invests in finance, healthcare, railways and other areas. SPG’s electricity sales and maximum load both register an average annual growth rate of 14 percent, and the average increase of annual per capita electricity consumption reached 13 percent.

SPG has contributed a cumulative poverty relief fund of US$4.73 million. SPG has in place a comprehensive emergency-response system, which makes rapid rescue possible.

Guided by the vision of green, sustainable, and quality-based development, SPG answers the global call for developing alternative energy sources and facilitating energy transition by scaling up clean energy development, evidenced by registering a 16.4 percent increase in new energy generated electricity within SPG’s network.

Three of SPG’s hydropower plants have won support from the UN Global Environment Facility, and four hydropower plants have been listed as China’s first batch of Green Small Hydropower Projects, aiming to create a friendly, shared and green power grid.

The future

SPG’s latest development plan sets the goal to invest close to US$4.8 billion by 2020 — to build a modern power distribution network consisting of a range of projects including the building and renovation of eighty-six 110kV substations with 5,128km of associated lines, and 22,542km of 10kV lines, with the rate of Coverage of Distribution Automation and smart meters amounting to 100%.

The new network is to feature a world-class network and service system with coordinated urban-rural development, safety and reliability, advanced technology and eco-friendliness.

It should encourage deep integration of the power distribution network with the Internet and coordinated development of the power grid and new energy to allow flexible connection and efficient use of diversified load such as that of new-energy-powered or electric vehicles.

In the context of deepening Africa-China and Ghana-China ties, SPG stands ready to forge ahead with partners such as BXC Ghana to make investments and contributions to the development of power distribution network in Ghana by jointly building a new type of modern power distribution network in West Africa.