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Power Supply Shortages Expected Again This Summer

China's maximum power shortage expected this summer is estimated at 25 million kw, said a senior official with the China State Electricity Regulatory Commission in Beijing on Thursday.

Shi Yubo, vice chairman of the commission, said at a news briefing that June will be the start of power supplies' peak load period. Electricity will remain in short supply nationwide, although the shortage of power will be less acute compared with last year.
Since the beginning of this year, China's electricity generation and consumption have continued to grow at high speeds. From January to March, total power consumption nationwide was 550 billion kwh, an increase of 13.38 percent over the same period last year.

China's total installed generating capacity is expected to exceed 500 million kw in 2005 and total electricity consumption is estimated at 2.4 trillion kwh, Shi said.

He also said that an additional generating capacity of about 65 million kw will be put into operation this year. 

With the improvement in the performance of major power grids nationwide, the scope and scale of power outages and supply restrictions will see a decline this year, he said.
According to Shi, by the end of 2004, the country's total installed generating capacity reached 440 million kw, while total electricity generation for 2004 amounted to 2.187 trillion kwh, representing a year-on-year increase of 14.8 percent.
China's total electricity consumption stood at 2.173 trillion kwh last year, up 14.9 percent over the previous year.

To meet the maximum shortage of power supply during the coming summer, Shi said the government will concentrate its efforts in four key areas: guaranteeing the safety of power generating systems; guiding and encouraging consumers to stagger electricity usage; enhancing cross-regional electricity and power exchanges and optimizing allocation of power resources; and maintaining a sound electricity market.
On May 1, China raised electricity prices for industrial and commercial users by 0.3 cents per kilowatt-hour in a bid to cope with the coal prices hike.
Coal prices in China have increased steadily since last June and many electricity companies have reported losses.
Due to the rapid growth of economy over the past years, power shortages have become a major issue in many parts of China. Twenty-four of the country's 31 provinces experienced power shortages in 2004, compared with 19 in 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2005)

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