Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Working Paper #60
The historical process of rural electrification in China can be divided into three stages. The first stage lasted from 1950 until the end of 1970s, when policies of economic reform and liberalization were introduced. Rural electrification was slow, yet impressive progress was made under strict central planning. The second stage encompasses the last two decades of the 20th century, during which time rural industrialization proceeded full force, with investment mainly from local rather than central government. The third stage began at the turn of the century and included large scale consolidation and upgrading of rural grids, funded by a variety of sources. This further improved the quality of electricity service and extended access to remote rural corners of the country. The process of rural electrification has now neared its end, having become almost fully integrated into the power sector in China.