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Economic slowdown takes toll on power firms
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Despite the country's energycrunch in the first half of this year, falling demand as a result of mounting economic problems has led many Chinese power plants to cut output by as much as 50 percent.

One senior staff member at a power plant in Shanxi province told China Daily that one-third of its generating facilities had been shut down due to falling demand.

The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) said the country's power consumption grew 9.67 percent in the first nine months of the year, with the growth rate falling 5.45 percent year-on-year.

China's GDP growth was 9.9 percent in September and power consumption grew 9.7 percent, the first time power consumption growth had been lower than GDP growth for a decade.

According to China Electricity Council (CEC), China's overall power generation in the first nine months was about 2,591 billion kWh, up 11.7 percent year-on-year.

CEC official Xie Juchen said the annual power generation growth is estimated to be less than 13 percent due to the economic slowdown, 3 to 4 percentage points lower than last year.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said 18.3 percent of China's State-owned industrial enterprises and non-State-owned enterprises with an income over 5 million yuan faced losses in the first eight months, especially in the power, textile and nonferrous metals sectors.

Zhu Hongren, an official from the ministry, said with the expansion of the financial crisis, excessive production and shrinking demand would become more critical issues.

By Nov 5, 12 power companies were estimated to be operating at a loss, while 10 companies suffered a loss of over 100 million yuan in the first nine months of the year.

In the first nine months of the year, Huadian Power International Corp booked a net loss of 1.37 billion yuan, against a profit of 984.4 million yuan a year earlier.

Huaneng Power International Inc had a loss of 2.2 billion yuan in the three months ended September, while losses at Datang Power reached 433 million yuan.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), during the first eight months this year, China's power industry posted a 23 billion yuan net profit, down 78.5 percent on the same period last year.

(China Daily November 11, 2008)

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