HOHHOT, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- As night falls on Qiqian Village, locals turn on their light bulbs. Yellow light shines through their glass windows, and the entire village glows.
For residents of Qianqian, the light heralds a new era.
At the end of 2017, stable electricity supply finally reached Qiqian after the 11 families there spent almost half a century enduring power shortages at night. Now all towns and villages in Inner Mongolia have access to stable electricity.
In villager Liu Shuxia's house, light illuminated the entire living room. Steam floated up from just-cooked rice, and Liu's son was busy doing homework.
"In the past, we shared a solar-wind hybrid electricity system with the border troops here, and when the weather was bad, we did not have enough electricity at all," Liu recalled. "We only cooked rice once a week."
Now with access to electricity, Liu said life is much easier.
"We can cook whenever we want, and my child can study in the light," she said.
Qiqian sits in the heartland of the Greater Higgan Mountains on the China-Russia border. It is Inner Mongolia's northernmost village. The closest town is 342 km away.
"The electricity problem has always been a stumbling block hampering Qiqian's development. There was a shortage of electricity, and the power was unstable," said Shao Rimin, a local Party official. "In addition, the wind-solar hybrid system equipment was also getting old."
To improve local infrastructure, in November, a local branch of the State Grid upgraded the photovoltaic system and set up another, which was put into use on Dec. 31.
"As Qiqian is extremely cold in the winter and the ground was frozen, it was very difficult to conduct the project," an official of the State Grid branch said. "It took us a lot of effort and heavy machinery to complete."
Gao Yanguo, 40, is a resident of Qiqian. He raised more than 40 cows, but a shortage of power in the past made it hard to provide enough water for the animals.
"I had to carry water from more than 40 km away," he said. "Now with electricity, I dug a well and installed a water pump in it. With electricity, it is convenient to pump water."
In 2017, the State Grid branch invested more than 3.3 billion yuan (467 million U.S. dollars) to help 400,000 families in 3,055 villages in Inner Mongolia get access to electricity.
"I am so happy that we have electricity now," Gao said. "Next, I plan to develop tourism resources here in Qiqian to attract visitors."