Peng Xinli, Power Line Ex­pert

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Duan Mengzhu, pol­ished by Mark Zuiderveld, pho­tos by Li Xiaoyin, pho­tos cour­tesy of Peng Xinli

Peng Xinli, a team leader in a line re­pair sec­tor of Miyun Power Sup­ply Com­pany, has been given large credit for work­ing on power lines.

Elec­tri­cal work­ers wear yel­low in­su­lated cloth­ing with el­bowlength gloves and hard hats, work­ing in places three to four me­tres above ground. If coloured white, they may be eas­ily mis­tak­enly as as­tro­nauts walk­ing in outer space. But they have to deal with elec­tric­ity on tele­graph poles on a daily ba­sis.

Peng Xinli, a team leader in a line re­pair sec­tor of Miyun Power Sup­ply Com­pany, has gained recog­ni­tion for his work: the “Na­tional Youth In­no­va­tion and Ef­fi­ciency Award” in 2002, “Na­tional Youth Po­si­tion Ex­pert” in 2002, the Cap­i­tal Labour Medal in 2004, the “Ex­cel­lent Com­mu­nist Party Mem­ber of Bei­jing State Cap­i­tal Of­fice Party Com­mit­tee” in 2004, Bei­jing Model Worker in 2005, the “Ad­vanced Worker” of the North China Grid Com­pany Lim­ited in 2005, “Ad­vanced Knowl­edge In­di­vid­ual” of cen­tral en­ter­prises in 2006, and the “Na­tional Ad­vanced Knowl­edge In­di­vid­ual” in 2007.

Un­der his lead­er­ship, the team has given full play to work­ing on live lines. Since 2008, they have taken on over 800 elec­tri­cal work or­ders, over 2,400 live line work­ing prac­tises, and in­creased power by 3.6 mil­lion kilo­watthours (KWH). De­spite these hon­ours, Peng al­ways be­lieves that achievements re­main in the past, while the fu­ture may start from zero.


In the au­tumn of 1991, Peng grad­u­ated from ju­nior high school and took over his father's job as a line re­pair worker at the sec­ond main­te­nance team in the Miyun Power Sup­ply Com­pany. In the power sup­ply in­dus­try, line re­pair work is ex­haust­ing and dan­ger­ous, de­mand­ing to stay out­side and en­dure bit­ter cold win­ters and scorch­ing sum­mers, sand and wind­storms, and ir­reg­u­lar din­ners. Yet Peng has de­voted to his job for a decade.

In­spired by his father's life­long dili­gence in the in­dus­try, Peng re­lent­lessly holds him­self to high stan­dards. Af­ter com­ing to a line re­pair work area, he started dili­gent work and re­ceived early qual­i­fi­ca­tion, even act­ing as an as­sis­tant while study­ing at the same time.

Af­ter work, he found ma­te­ri­als to prac­tise with, and never stopped get­ting ap­proval from his mas­ter. While learn­ing how to bind stand bot­tles, he even took down an old bot­tle and prac­tised on it with wires. Af­ter three nights of prac­tise, he could fi­nally make it work.

Peng said, “At that time, im­pressed by my mas­ter's so­phis­ti­cated work, I set a goal for my­self. Over the past ten years, I have fol­lowed a stan­dard to learn from the best and be per­fect in my work. It doesn't mat­ter whether you can make it or not when faced with a new chal­lenge, since no one is born to be a mas­ter; what matters most is whether you have de­voted to it or not, since there is no short­cut to learn­ing tech­niques. Only through prac­tise can im­prove­ments be made. As a staff mem­ber work­ing in elec­tri­cal power, we can't make any work hap­pen with­out skills.”

Half a year af­ter be­gin­ning his ca­reer, when his su­per­vi­sor asked Peng to prac­tise to climb trans­mis­sion pole, he took out climbers and safety rope with­out hes­i­ta­tion and started climb­ing. Sur­prised by his self­taught skill, the su­per­vi­sor praised him as “some­one to be cut out for line re­pair.” Peng's ca­reer set sail from that time, and he had been a lead player un­til 1997. In those five years, his foot­prints cov­ered all of Miyun's cir­cuit ar­eas, giv­ing him a full un­der­stand­ing of the hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of cir­cuits in Miyun's ju­ris­dic­tion.

In those early days, Peng felt that he should try to im­prove his ca­pa­bil­i­ties. He en­rolled in a tech­ni­cal sec­ondary school ma­jor­ing in elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances, and grasped knowl­edge and the­o­ries af­ter two years of study. “It was the first time when I have felt how im­por­tant study­ing was for im­prove­ment.” Study­ing kin­dles his flame to hap­pi­ness and hope. In Jan­uary 1997, he was ap­pointed to vice-su­per­vi­sor of the main­te­nance team.


In Oc­to­ber 1997, Peng was as­signed to take part in live- line train­ing. The ben­e­fit of live­line work­ing is to re­duce power cut- off range so that some cus­tomers may even not suf­fer from black­out. Quite dif­fer­ent from power- cut work­ing, it stresses on safety. Ac­cord­ing to Peng, the big­gest dan­ger of live line work­ing is caused by miss­ing steps from slack­ing off, which brings risks in con­struc­tion.

“Some­one who doesn't obey the rules can't fin­ish his work, pos­si­bly risk­ing his life.” Af­ter years of work, Peng said that the more work he's done, the more he knows about op­er­at­ing cir­cuits. In­creas­ing fears make him work more care­fully. Peng came to re­alise why those prin­ci­ples and rules are more im­por­tant now than ever.

Live line work­ing is an ad­van­ta­geous yet dan­ger­ous line of work. Peng gives pri­or­ity to safety. He also ex­plains safety reg­u­la­tions to work­ers each day of the week to heighten their con­scious­ness and self- pro­tec­tion.

Ev­ery early Jan­uary, he leads his team mem­bers to re­vise a sys­tem of re­spon­si­bil­ity in safe pro­duc­tion and to re­for­mu­late a range of safe re­spon­si­bil­ity agree­ments in­clud­ing “Mu­tual In­sur­ance Li­a­bil­ity Agree­ment,” stress­ing the work of his team, as­sur­ing both safety man­age­ment and safety aware­ness. He once said, “Each safety day, I can­not em­pha­sise safety enough. We must stay alert at ev­ery safety is­sue.”

In 2000, the com­pany set up a work group of live line ser­vices led by Peng. His

Peng Xinli, a team leader in a line re­pair sec­tor of Miyun Power Sup­ply Com­pany, has gained recog­ni­tion for his work. Un­der his lead­er­ship, the team has been given credit for work­ing on power lines.

team has been rated as the most ad­vanced work team mul­ti­ple times. Since 2001, it has been awarded a model team by the com­pany for four con­sec­u­tive years. In 2005, the team has been suc­ces­sively named “The Youth Demon­strated Post of Safety in Pro­mo­tion” by the com­pany and North China Grid Com­pany Ltd.

Although he is a man­ager, Peng never falls be­hind on his acu­men. Climb­ing up poles with his team, he is a bell­wether that never stops in ex­ceed­ing at each post. In 2002, he met the big­gest turn­ing point in his life. That Novem­ber, he rep­re­sented North China Power Group and took part in a com­pe­ti­tion on live line work­ing of the na­tional elec­tric power sec­tor held by Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Youth League of China and State Grid Cor­po­ra­tion of China, which was his first time at­tend­ing a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Thanks to solid foun­da­tions and vig­or­ous study­ing, he won the ti­tle of “Na­tional Tech­ni­cal Ex­perts” awarded by Min­istry of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity and “Na­tional Youth Ex­pert” jointly awarded by Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Youth League of China, State Eco­nomic and Trade Com­mis­sion and Min­istry of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity. Three days later, at the com­pe­ti­tion site of Bei­jing Power Sup­ply Com­pany, he won the cham­pi­onship with a record of nine min­utes and twenty- three sec­onds.

Peng con­fessed he had learned from the peers through the com­pe­ti­tion, also a good op­por­tu­nity for ex­change. He main­tains a steady drive and calm de­spite his hon­ours, as­sur­ing oth­ers and mak­ing them re­li­able. Since he has set other goals and ex­pec­ta­tions, he says, “I keep im­prov­ing my­self and pass on my ex­pe­ri­ence to new­com­ers.” Ac­cord­ing to him, what he wants most is to be an out­stand­ing elec­tri­cal worker with pro­fi­cient tech­niques.


Elec­tri­cal work­ers like Peng have silently en­sured elec­tric­ity for oth­ers. In 1994, Peng and his col­leagues solved a pow­er­sup­ply prob­lem for half of Miyun County by im­prov­ing elec­tri­cal power fa­cil­i­ties. In 1998, when they were set­ting up power lines for Bei­jing Wa­ter Ninth Plant, the en­vi­ron­ment cov­er­ing four miles from Mu­tianyu to the plant was very poor with wind­ing moun­tain roads and dense wet­lands, not an ideal land­scape for erect­ing poles. Con­struc­tion went on with more dif­fi­culty, as the ma­te­ri­als they used were one level higher than the com­mon stan­dard. But he and his co­work­ers man­aged to fin­ish the task within a month, thus en­sur­ing the plant's wa­ter sup­ply to Bei­jing ahead of time.

Faced with the “9950 Pro­mo­tion Project” (a power grid con­struc­tion and re­con­struc­tion project for the 50th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the Peo­ple' Repub­lic of China) in 1998 and the Fifty Decades Na­tional Day Cer­e­mony in 1999, he had to led his mem­bers to learn and study new is­sues not long af­ter he had fin­ished train­ing. They rushed to sites to in­spect ar­eas over two hun­dred times in a sin­gle year. Within two years, Miyun's elec­tri­cal power cir­cuit had greatly been im­proved with their ef­forts.

“Twenty-six years ago when I en­tered the pro­fes­sion, peo­ple had to face power ra­tioning of­ten. Those who were hav­ing wed­dings or fu­ner­als would ap­ply for elec­tric­ity ahead of time. Nowa­days, de­mands for elec­tric­ity are grow­ing, since we need it for in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ments, and elec­tric­ity is also a clean en­ergy for en­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ment.

These make the power in­dus­try more im­por­tant. As the Coal-to-elec­tric­ity Project has been de­vel­op­ing for sev­eral years, which pro­vides us with a bet­ter liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Peng said with de­light. With ef­fort, the first, sec­ond and third steps of Ru­ral Power Grids Trans­for­ma­tion gained suc­cess in 2000, and peo­ple wouldn't ex­pe­ri­ence power out­ages since then.

Feng Lian­shun, his for­mer col­league, re­called that he was deeply im­pressed by Peng on one oc­ca­sion. One rainy day in Au­gust 1998, at about 3 p.m., Peng re­turned from a con­struc­tion site. Af­ter hear­ing of an in­ci­dent that a 35KV cir­cuit

had been off in Bu­lao­tun, Miyun, he gath­ered work­ers and hur­ried to the site in muddy clothes.

The dis­tance be­tween the site and the clos­est county was over 70 kilo­me­tres, and when they reached the des­ti­na­tion, it was pouring rain. They had to wait for a night be­fore the rain could stop. The work­ers were ex­hausted af­ter com­plet­ing re­pairs. Feng said, “I felt very proud of my co-work­ers.”

Peng of­ten says that peo­ple should stand three such tests or touch­stones as dis­grace, hon­our and dif­fi­culty, which en­able us to look in­side of our­selves. “I hope that I could with­stand the tests.” He knows that his work is based on serv­ing con­sumers, which is to pre­vent fail­ure and that im­prov­ing the re­li­a­bil­ity of power dis­tri­bu­tion is a must.

In daily work, he al­ways main­tains a good sched­ule and works hard. Over sev­eral years, his mantra “power fail­ure is an in­ci­dent” has been rooted in the minds of his col­leagues, so com­mu­ni­cat­ing with his team is al­ways 24/7. Re­fer­ring to the idea that “in­ci­dent is a com­mand,” they are on call and try to deal with all in­ci­dents in a short time to keep losses at a min­i­mum.


We are in an age when ev­ery­one pur­sues in­no­va­tion, and peo­ple never cease to talk about. But this doesn't come eas­ily, and it is just empty talk with­out any real in­ves­ti­ga­tion, so­phis­ti­cated ex­pe­ri­ence in one in­dus­try and unique in­sight to ob­serve prob­lems. Peng started his path to in­no­va­tion since his six­teenth work­ing year with self- im­prove­ment and work ex­pe­ri­ence.

In 2006, Peng found an in­su­la­tion bar­rier which didn't work prop­erly, which caused him to ac­tion. He shared his idea with other con­trol ex­perts and, with their ap­proval, suc­cess­fully im­proved the bar­rier. Its weight was de­creased but the pro­tec­tion dis­tance was longer, thus in­creas­ing se­cu­rity and ef­fi­ciency of live­line work­ing. Be­cause of this, he won the Sec­ond Prize of In­no­va­tion of Bei­jing.

Af­ter that, Peng's in­no­va­tive ideas started emerg­ing like a flood. He said that he felt en­light­ened, since be­fore that, he thought that many de­vices couldn't be changed, and it was the first suc­cess that gave him great con­fi­dence.

His most im­pres­sive work he can re­call was in 2009 at Miyun District, an eco­log­i­cal area with a dense for­est. The short­com­ing of live- line work­ing poles at that time was that work­ers had to use aerial lifts with an in­su­lat­ing arm and in­su­lat­ing gloves. It didn't work since it couldn't go to sites like or­chards and fields, and work­ers had to erect poles man­u­ally. “I re­peat­edly asked my­self about the de­vice's ab­sence, which was the only cause for why the project couldn't be done. I later dis­cussed with my col­leagues about solv­ing the prob­lem based on this as­pect.”

Peng felt sorry since the live line work­ing pole erec­tion hadn't been done at that time, which urged him to make a change. Half a year later, their in­no­va­tion won great suc­cess, and the po­ten­tial pole make it pos­si­ble for live­line work­ing on both or­chards and fields, which gained him the Sec­ond Prize of a com­pe­ti­tion held by Bei­jing Elec­tric Power Cor­po­ra­tion. “From that time, I have been fully mo­ti­vated to in­no­vate, and I have ap­plied for four patents in 2016, all for solv­ing prac­ti­cal prob­lems.”

Be­cause of his in­no­va­tion con­scious­ness, an in­no­va­tion studio was es­tab­lished in his name in 2010 by the Miyun Power Sup­ply Com­pany, which con­sists of seven in­no­va­tion teams in­clud­ing ex­perts, cir­cuits, power trans­for­ma­tion, mar­ket­ing ser­vice, and ad­min­is­tra­tion of power sup­ply. Each team has a leader, and holds reg­u­lar meet­ings each week.

They have car­ried out re­search top­ics, in­no­va­tive in tech­niques, man­age­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tive in­no­va­tion, gain­ing 21 patents, three mass in­no­va­tion achieve­ment prizes in Bei­jing Elec­tric Power Cor­po­ra­tion, and over ten tech­ni­cal pa­pers on core jour­nals. They have cre­ated an in­no­va­tive at­mos­phere for staff. “The studio should be a guide as well as an in­no­va­tion plat­form for the whole com­pany,” Peng pointed out.

A sin­gle flower does not make a spring. Peng, an ex­pert of the State Grid Cor­po­ra­tion, se­nior tech­ni­cian of dis­tri­bu­tion lines, and mem­ber of the live line work­ing ex­pert group in Bei­jing Elec­tric Power Cor­po­ra­tion, is also a teacher and trains power line work­ers.

He teaches es­sen­tial op­er­a­tion skills, guid­ing work­ers for the com­pany, as well as shar­ing his own ex­pe­ri­ence and phi­los­o­phy of safety. He also eval­u­ates staff of Bei­jing Elec­tric Power In­dus­try Oc­cu­pa­tional Skill Test­ing Author­ity, as­sess­ing high-skilled tal­ent in the in­dus­try.

Peng Xinli (cen­tre) works with his col­leagues.

Work­ing on a tele­graph pole

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