Eight hundred and thirty-nine teams consisted of a total of over 2,000 inspectors were assembled by MEP and rushed to “2+26” cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas to visit the local residents and check the local heat supply situations between Dec. 15 and 20, in response to the recent news on inadequate heat supply as a result of a shortage in natural gas supply.
Minister Li Ganjie, Vice Minister Zhai Qing, and Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin led separate teams and inspected Tianjin, Baoding, Langfang, Xingtai, Handan, Dezhou, Liaocheng, and Anyang.
The purpose of the inspection was to make sure the people had access to adequate heat to weather through cold. Based on the local reports and news updates, the Ministry blanketed the households in the “2+26” cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas to check the progress of the “gas for coal” and “electricity for coal” projects (coal replacement projects). In case of inadequate heat supply, inspectors would urge local governments to fix the problem within a prescribed period of time and stayed to make sure the people got heat supply.
The 839 teams canvassed 5.537 mil. households in 25,220 villages (communities) in 2,590 townships (towns, sub-districts) of 385 counties (county-level cities and districts) in Beijing, Tianjin, and another 26 cities in this region. Of those, 4.743 mil. households in 21,516 villages (communities) completed the “coal replacement projects”, a few in 2016, and most in 2017.
A total of 426,000 households in 1,208 villages that have alternated from coal to electricity or gas for heat experienced a shortage of natural gas supply since the heat supply started, accounting for 5.6 percent. Increased gas supply, and coals or radiators were used for heating before or after the inspection had begun. By the night of Dec. 20, heat had been made available to all of the residents.
So far 3,704 villages (communities) have not upgraded their energy sources for heating, most of them stayed with coal and a few resorted to temporary heating measures. Only three villages (communities), i.e., a village of 102 households in Shanxi Province, a community of 238 households in Shandong Province, and a community of 1,570 households in Henan Province neither upgraded their heating devices nor taken any temporary heating measures at the time of inspection. The inspectors urged local communities to either accelerate the upgrading or use air conditioners or radiators to keep those households warm.
During the inspection, the Ministry required that the inspectors stay and make sure the heat supply is adequate as long as they find the heating is not enough to keep the residents warm. Radiators should be provided for those residents temporarily.
The inspection found that since the “2+26” cities alternated from coal to electricity or gas for heating, the local residents have been mostly kept warm. They don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to put more coals in the stove any more. The house is warmer and cleaner. The local governments believe the coal replacement has integrated the environmental, economic, and social benefits and they will continue to give their support.
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