Tough days ahead for businesses in northeast as power shortage continues

Companies in more than 10 provinces have cut output or halted production to save energy.

Photo from CFP

Photo from CFP

By WANG Yong, XI Jinghua


Limits imposed on power usage by some businesses in northeastern China last week have been extended to residential areas.

With tough penalties for those who do not comply, many companies have cut output or halted production entirely.

China's electricity demand has grown 12 percent by the end of August. The State Grid will give priority to residential supplies when the shortage eases.

The problem is the result of increased exports and higher coal prices, LIN Boqiang of Xiamen University told Jiemian News.

As winter is coming, the situation could worsen. In the northeast, the heating season lasts half a year. In October, as the weather cools in southern China, consumption will decrease, and supply will gradually catch up with demand.

On September 25, coal producers signed medium and long-term contracts with power and heating plants to guarantee adequate supplies through the winter, said LI Zhongmin, VP of the China National Coal Exchange.

Besides the Northeast, the curbs have spread to more than 10 provinces including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong, where government institutions are taking the lead in energy conservation. Air conditioners in government offices should be set at a minimum of 26 degrees Celsius, all office equipment should be turned off when not in use and elevators are no longer available for the 3rd floor or below.

Li believes power limits in China have a different cause and will not be extensive. “In some regions and specific industries, environmental regulations play a prominent role in power allowances.”