The separation and splitting of electricity and grid
Zhang Guobao, former deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission and former director of the National Energy Administration
Ten years have passed since the reform of the power system in 2002.
In 10 years, the power industry has developed rapidly. The installed capacity has increased from 338.6 million kilowatts in 2001 to 1.05 billion kilowatts in 2011, and will exceed 1.1 billion kilowatts in 2012. It will soon catch up with the United States and become the world's largest installed power capacity. Countries; the power grids range from the six regional power grids that are basically disconnected to the formation of a national network including Tibet and Hainan Island. On the other hand, there are still ongoing disputes over the success of the power system reform.
In 1999, I began to serve as the Deputy Director of the National Development Planning Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "State Planning Commission"), in charge of energy, transportation, industry, high-tech and other industries, where the responsibilities lie. I was fortunate to serve as Premier Zhu Rongji and Vice Premier Wu Bangguo of the State Council. Under the direct leadership of three comrades, Zeng Peiyan, director of the Planning Commission, they participated in the design of reform plans for the four industries considered to be monopolistic by the society, namely, electric power, civil aviation, railways, and telecommunications. As a person who has passed and experienced it, I have a responsibility to record this history. Come down.
Power generation company:
"One Split Five" and introduce multiple forms of ownership
At the end of the 1990s, compared with civil aviation and telecommunications reforms, the demand for reform of the power system was very high.
In the past, the government's economic management structure was largely influenced by the Soviet Union, and many specialized industrial departments were set up. With the progress of China's economic system reform, many professional departments have been abolished and merged into several comprehensive management departments. After the reform, many specialized departments are gone, and they are relatively concentrated and streamlined. Among them, some professional departments have become enterprises. These enterprises not only manage some corporate matters, but also inherit part of the functions of the original department government management. The same is true for electricity. In the past, the Ministry of Electricity evolved into the National Electric Power Corporation, which still performed part of the government's administrative functions and also had corporate management functions.
Looking back, this may be a very important step in our reform process, and it is also a step with relatively high resistance. There was a saying at that time: there are so many bodhisattvas in the temple, and if you invite the bodhisattva away, other bodhisattvas will come, so you must demolish the temple first and then move the bodhisattvas. Think about it. At that time, dozens of ministries and commissions were involved. I don't have a detailed figure on the number of people involved. It is estimated that there are at least tens of thousands of people. Such a big reform requires a lot of courage.
After the reorganization of the ministries and commissions, the second step is to further reform some of the institutions that have become companies but also have administrative functions. The first is the electric power, civil aviation, railway and telecommunications departments.
It is difficult for these departments to change themselves, so a comprehensive department design reform plan is needed. This task fell to the State Planning Commission. Comrade Zeng Peiyan was the director of the State Planning Commission at that time. He was the leader of the reform leading group and I was the deputy leader because I was in charge of these four industries at the time. Comrades from the Office of Economic Restructuring and several departments that were reformed also participated in the reform. Lead the work of the team.
At that time, there was a consensus on the reform of the electric power system. The first was to separate the government from the enterprise, and to separate the functions of the government from the original state power company and put it into government departments. The second was the reform model. The net separates. Before the reform, power generation companies and grid transmission and distribution businesses belonged to the State Power Corporation. The power generation companies that originally belonged to the State Power Corporation were spun off and no longer monopolized. One company is no longer responsible for power generation. Instead, multiple power generation companies are allowed. Ownership of electricity, introducing competition.
Many power generation companies are actually two steps: one step is to spin off the power generation companies originally owned by the State Power Corporation, but not one power generation company, but to form five power generation companies. 5 companies can compete with each other, according to your service, according to your other aspects of ability to compete. Another important step is that power generation companies outside the scope of the State Power Corporation are also allowed to participate in competition, that is, multiple ownership systems are allowed to participate in the power generation field, including foreign capital, Sino-foreign joint ventures, private enterprises, and companies in the non-electric power sector. Call me. For example, China Resources in Hong Kong, Formosa Plastics in Taiwan, Shenhua and Tongmei Group in the coal industry, GCL and Zhujiang in the private sector, and Hebei Construction Investment and Jiangsu Guoxin as the main investment entities have all set up some power plants. It is estimated that there are more than a hundred power generation companies, and the five major power generation companies that originally belonged to the State Power Corporation accounted for less than half of the power generation capacity. This indicates that multiple ownership systems are allowed to participate in the power generation field. The competitive landscape of home-run electricity.
The power grid becomes the focus of reform:
"One net" or "multiple nets" across the country?
In the process of power reform, many problems were encountered. One of the problems was how to deal with the power grid?
Some people have proposed that the power grid can also introduce competition, similar to turning power generation into five major companies, turning the power grid into several companies. It was once envisaged to turn these six large power regions into six power grid companies based on the original six power management bureaus (that is, Northeast, Northwest, North China, Central China, East China, and South).
But it was also suggested that even if you turn it into six grid companies, it will still be one within the jurisdiction of any grid company. For example, the Northeast Power Grid, in the Northeast region, it is impossible to send the power of the Southern Power Grid to the Northeast to compete with it, so it is still a natural monopoly within its scope, but the scope of this natural monopoly has changed from all of China to a certain region. That's it, so some people think that this reform will not work, and advocate that the power grid cannot be split, and that it should be a "one network" across the country.
The electric power reform has encountered great resistance. Some comrades in the electric power sector and other sectors are distressed and unacceptable about separating the power grid from the factory and the grid. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, this system has been in place, and it has developed into a large-scale electric power industry. But these comrades are not easy to say anything, because public opinion all believe that the separation of government and enterprises and the separation of factories and networks should be carried out. This is the general trend.
However, there is greater resistance to opinions that further separate the "net" on this basis. In the end, the focus of the power system is: Is the country "one network" or "multiple networks"?
High-level executives also have different views. Some advocate "one network" and some advocate "multiple networks". The power system reform has reached the stage of specific scheme design and encountered great difficulties. The State Power Company is the subject of reform. For example, the separation of power plants and grids is directly related to the separation of power companies. It is not only the separation of power generation companies, but also the issue of whether power grid companies cannot be demolished. This is much more complicated than currently imagined. . Reform is the general trend, but it is impossible to say that you have no ideas at all. This is a fact.
At that time, the organization asked me to talk to Gao Yan (the general manager of the State Power Company at the time). He did not say disagree or show resistance to the reform in front of me, but he only greeted a few words and inferred his body. If you are sick, let others talk to me. Do you say he feels happy? He would not want the electricity to be broken up further. It's not just a few people who know this.
In order to form a consensus on reforms, at that time, people were organized to go abroad for inspections, to learn from the experience of other countries' power management systems, and to hold many domestic and foreign seminars and symposiums. Whether the power grid could be dismantled or not became a focus of the power system reform plan at that time, and the society was also very concerned, and everyone put forward various suggestions. There are those who advocate separation, and there are those who advocate that they cannot be separated, each expressing their views. We have held many large seminars and invited many foreign consulting agencies and energy organizations, such as Goldman Sachs and the Cambridge Energy Institute in the United States. Other countries also introduced their power management experience.
I have participated in most of the seminars. I think the seminars are basically the same. Zhang San said so and Li Si said so. Recalling now, I think that no country in the world has the same power management model. It's not that a certain model is recognized as the best, and there is no model that every country can follow. Including Western countries, is the British model the same as that of the United States? Is the British model the same as the French model? Is the Japanese model the same as the British model? It's all different.
At that time, various opinions were mixed, including investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. They seemed to be very knowledgeable and told you what to do. In fact, they wanted to help these companies go public in the future. Look for business opportunities and economic benefits. Looking back now, some investment banks are just trying to figure out the intentions of the Chinese leader. If the leader thinks that "one net" is good, he will go to "one net", and if the leader says "multiple nets" are good, he will go to "multiple nets". "Net" said, in fact, they don't understand. Why don't they understand? It's not that they don't have this knowledge. As I said earlier, there is no power management model in the world that is exactly the same and can be used for reference. They all have their own characteristics and have their own advantages and disadvantages.
General Secretary Jiang Zemin personally interrogated and demanded: "compromise"
Due to the great controversy over the power grid issue, the reform of the power system cannot be carried out. General Secretary Jiang Zemin also personally asked about the reform of the power system: Why hasn't it been changed until now? What is the resistance? Where are the differences? He called Comrade Zeng Peiyan directly, and I was there.
Comrade Zeng Peiyan truthfully reported some of the opinions in the power system reform design plan. In fact, he finally focused on the issue of "one network" or "multiple networks". After hearing this, General Secretary Jiang said "compromise" in English, which roughly meant that these two opinions should be compromised and coordinated.
Why did it later become the National Grid and China Southern Power Grid? Since Tianshengqiao (Editor’s Note: Tianshengqiao Hydropower Plant, located in Xingyi City, Guizhou Province) was already sending electricity to Guangdong at that time, there was a rudimentary form of sending electricity from the southwest to Guangdong. Before the reform of the power system, a series of power transmission from west to east had actually been carried out. On this basis, the embryonic form of the interconnection of Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Guangdong has been formed. Therefore, the State Grid and China Southern Power Grid that were formed later were the result of various opinions, including the coordination and unification of the opinions of high-level leaders, and they were also decisions made based on the status of China's power grid at that time.