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'Roof of world' connected with power supply

The base camp of Qomolangma, at an altitude of 5,200 meters on the world's highest mountain, has had access to reliable electricity supply since earlier this month, according to the Tibet Branch of the State Grid.

More than 1,000 households in 21 towns near the camp now have electricity thanks to a two-year project.

The project ran 85 km of power lines at an average altitude of more than 5,000 meters, where the oxygen level is less than half that in lower areas.

The move is expected to end electricity shortages and a reliance on intermittent solar power and generators at the base camp of Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West, and tourists and climbers will enjoy more convenient services.

"With access to stable electricity, it is more convenient for us climbers to use computers, the Internet and recharge our cellphones," said Tsering Wangmo, a mountaineer on the Tibet Mountainering Team.

"Especially to recharge our communication devices - we feel safer that way," she added.

Monks and villagers near Qomolangma are direct beneficiaries of the project.

"Before our monastery had access to electricity, all power demands in the monastery relied on solar panels and generators," said Gyalbo, director of the Monastery Administrative Committee at Rongbo Monastery.

"They were so unstable that we frequently had to use candles and butter lamps instead."

Located on the "roof of the world" with a history that goes back more than a century, the Rongbo Monastery is the world's highest.

Gyalbo said monks at the monastery have long wished for a stable power supply, and the change means they can now watch TV and listen to the radio.

Dorje, a villager at the foot of Qomolangma, said he is glad he can now use electricity to heat water and cook, as power was often in short supply in the past.

The base camp electricity project is part of the Tibet Branch of the State Grid's three-year plan to extend electricity across the region, said Dang Yali, director of the branch.

The plan, which was started in 2013 and has an estimated investment of 5.4 billion yuan ($867 million), aims to benefit 380,000 people in 98,400 households in 18 counties, Dang added.

"By the end of 2015, 58 counties within the range of the middle Tibet grid will all have access to stable electricity. By the middle Tibet grid, we mean Tibet's capital, Lhasa, and the prefectures of Lhokha, Nyingchi, Shigaze and Nagqu," Dang said. 

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