Community Service

Illustration for TIME Keith Negley

When State Grid Corp. wanted to do good in Chinese communities, the Beijing-based utility turned to what it knows best: electricity. In rural villages nationwide last year, State Grid's "Power for All" project ran electric lines to 545,000 previously unserved households, offering the occupants free power indefinitely. Families bought their first refrigerators, televisions, even computers. Farmers stopped hauling buckets of water and installed automated irrigation systems. "We transformed people's lives," says Liu Fuyi, the project's chief. "We brought them into modernity." Over the next two years, the utility plans to spend $3 billion to do the same for 4.5...

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