Caijing issues further warnings about electricity shortages around China, which have led to power rationing and stuttering production lines.
Many measures have been applied to industries in Zhejiang Province as well. Some have been ordered to suspend productions one day after running consecutively for three days early since the start of this year, while others were required to halt operations every Tuesday.
The heat from power shortages all spread to normal usages in some Chinese provinces and cities. In Changsha, the capital city of Hunan Province, air conditioning has to be set no lower than 26 degree Celsius, and half of the street lamps will be turned down, just to list a few of them.
It is reported that the province now lacks of one third of power to ensure normal supplies ….
According to publicly available data, power consumption in East China in the first quarter grew 14. 9 percent, more than five times of the average in the past five years. Of all the provinces in the region, Zhejiang Province saw an year-on-year increase of 15 percent in consumption, while consumption in Jiangsu Province rose 14.8 percent from a year ago.
In contrary to shortages in eastern China, provinces in the west part of the country, including Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang are facing problems to export the power generated locally.
Chinese electricity companies are facing financial pressure from the increase in global energy costs as Beijing hesitates to increase state-controlled electricity prices because of concerns over inflation.
While the price of thermal coal – which fuels 70 per cent of China’s power plants – has risen by nearly one fifth since last year, Beijing has raised electricity tariffs by just 2 per cent during the same period, and the price gap has prompted some stations to close or reduce generation.
“Power plants promise industry regulators that they will generate power at full steam, but privately they don’t because of their financial losses,” explains Lin Boqiang, an energy economics expert at Xiamen university ….
“China is using planned-economy methods to regulate a market economy,” said Li Chaolin of the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association, citing the state controls on coal contract prices and electricity tariffs. “Authorities are getting too heavily involved in the [coal and power] market,” he added.
For more information, and exploration of the different factors behind the power shortages, see China Rations Power Use Amid Drought, China’s Power Outages Come Early and Often and China’s Looming Power Shortages: Blackouts, or Blackmail? on CDT.