An report from Xinhua via People’s Daily Online says a plan to stop providing free heat to residents in northern Chinese cities go into effect this winter:
The core of the reform, initiated by the Ministry of Construction, lets employers off the hook for their workers’ heating charges. Requiring individual users to pay is expected to cut energy consumption by 30 percent as tenants will be highly motivated to turn down their thermostats.
The reform of the urban heating system will be expanded from a few pioneering cities to all the cities in the coming winter, Xinhua learned on Friday.
Urban residents will still receive monthly allowances from their employers to pay their home heating. Less well off urban residents will receive allowances from the government. [Full Text]
[Additional information from this article in China Daily.]
The news is a departure from a state media report late last year that said employers would not have to make any contributions after the end of “welfare” heating, which was not supposed to happen until the end of 2007.