Chinese provinces ration electricity ahead of summer peak
May 17, 2011, 5:22 GMT
Beijing - Chinese provinces have begun rationing electricity supplies and expect further controls during a summer peak in consumption, state media said on Tuesday.
The eastern city of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, started rationing electricity last week amid the worst power shortage in the province for seven years, the China Daily newspaper reported.
The move caused Hangzhou residents to worry about supplies during the expected operation of hundreds of thousands of air-conditioners over the summer, the newspaper said.
The rationing in Zhejiang was already 'disrupting people's lives and squeezing industrial production,' it said.
The Zhejiang Electric Power Company forecast a shortfall of 350-500 million kilowatts during the summer peak demand of 5,000 million kilowatts.
About 20 other provinces and regions, mainly in southern and eastern China, had reported shortages in the last few weeks.
Electricity consumption rose 13 per cent year-on-year to 1.09 trillion kilowatts in the first quarter of this year, with about one-third used by 'heavy industries with low energy efficiency,' the newspaper quoted the National Energy Bureau as saying.
It said cuts in industrial production last year to meet five-yearly carbon emission targets were another factor behind the surge this year, as companies had resumed normal production levels from January.
This year's shortages were worsened by rising prices of coal, which still provides more than 90 per cent of China's electricity, it said.