A villager on the Nam Tha River, which CSG plans to dam

China Southern Power Grid

China Southern Power Grid (CSG) is a state-owned company that transmits and distributes electrical power in China’s southern provinces. Though CSG does not build dams in China, in recent years CSG and its subsidiaries have become key investors in dam projects in neighboring Southeast Asian countries.


In 2006, CSG was identified by the Chinese government as the implementation unit for China's efforts in building a regional power grid between China (specifically Yunnan province), Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. The proposed a regional power grid was first canvassed by the Asian Development Bank as part of their Greater Mekong Sub-Regional Initiative. Since then CSG has played an important role in facilitating the development of hydropower projects and planning key grid infrastructure development in Burma, Laos and Vietnam.  

An example of how CSG acts as a developer of hydropower projects is its partnership with Sinohydro and China Three Gorges Project Corporation to develop the further hydropower potential on the Salween River in Burma. In July 2008 and November 2010, these companies signed strategic corporation agreements for hydropower project development on the Salween River for further planning on the 7,100 MW Tasang and 4,500 MW Weigyi dams. These dams are planned in active conflict zones. NGOs have called for an immediate halt to these dam plans because the Burmese military has used violence to limit opposition to the dams. New surveys are currently being carried our in the area under heavy armed military escort. If these dams proceed, CSG is likely to play a major role in designing that high voltage capacity lines required to transmit generated electricity to buyers in Vietnam and China, while the construction work is left to Three Gorges Project Corporation.

While CSG started its overseas business by selling excess power to Vietnam from China (CSG signed an agreement with Vietnam State Grid to build three transmission lines to transfer excess energy from the Chinese market in 2004), CSG has grown to play a crucial role in electricity transfer between Mekong countries. Through it's subsidiary, the Yunnan Power Grid Company, CSG has transferred 4.678 billion kWh (from China) to Vietnam and imported 3.05 billion kWh from Myanmar between 2004 and June 2010. The Vietnamese government is currently negotiating a long-term supply agreement with CSG to secure Vietnam's energy supply until 2015.


International Rivers and our Southeast Asia partners are concerned that CSG has not yet demonstrated that it can be a responsible global company. CSG should take measurable steps to improve its social and environmental performance in its overseas investments. As a state-owned enterprise, CSG should set a high bar for social and environmental standards in its projects, as called for in China’s Guidelines on Fulfilling Social Responsibility by Central Enterprises.

CSG’s involvement in the following dams threaten local populations and critical ecosystems:

  • a cascade of four dams on the main stem of the Salween River in Burma;
  • a dam on Burma’s Shweli River;
  • the Myitsone Hydropower Project in Burma;
  • the Sambor Hydropower Project on the main stem of the Mekong River in Cambodia;
  • the Stung Cheay Areng Hydropower Project in Cambodia;
  • the Nam Tha 1 Hydropower Project in Laos.

International Rivers and our partners in Southeast Asia have asked CSG not to move forward with the Salween, Myitsone, Sambor, and Stung Cheay Areng dams (see CSG letter and our follow-up letter). We have asked that CSG conduct an independent study of the feasibility and impact of the Nam Tha 1 dam. In addition, we have asked CSG to ensure that people affected by the Shweli 1 Project receive fair compensation as well as a share in the project's benefits.

More information: 

Contact details for CSG 

President: Zhao Jianguo
Address: No.6, Huasui Street,
Zhujiang Xincheng, Tianhe District
Guangzhou 510623

Tel: + 86 (203) 812 1080
Fax: + 86 (203) 812 1089
Website: www.csg.cn

Company spokesperson contact details:
Xiao Hai, Company spokesperson
Email: xinwfyr@csg.cn
Office Phone: +86 (203) 812 0359