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Power Crunch Arouses New Energy Rules

To ease the summer's increasingly serious power shortages, some industrial operations have be enforced to shut down for four days in a week in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province.

The move, which starts today, mostly involves State-owned and privately-owned plants that have eight-hour work days.

The city says the emergency scheme is being taken to ensure the local power supply this summer will be preserved.

Foreign-owned enterprises, Sino-foreign joint ventures and other local companies are expected to halt operations for three days each week, while foreign-invested businesses and factories that operate around the clock in economic development zones are supposed to stay within an arranged power quota.

Affected plants also have to stop production during peak hours --from 5:30 PM to 11 PM -- within their three-day schedule, officials said.

Energy-consuming industries such as steel refiners, cement and electrolytic aluminium manufacturers, have been asked to close down to save power, officials said.

More than 400 local enterprises will temporarily be stopped from production for 15 days or will be asked to reduce their power loads by one-third in July or August.

According to local weather forecasters, Hangzhou will experience its hottest summer period in the coming days when the temperature will hit 36-38℃.

Facing a power gap of 1.3 million kilowatts this summer, the city must take the emergency measures to ensure residents have electricity, said Shen Jian, vice-mayor of Hangzhou.

Shen said as the scorching heat makes people use air-conditioners more frequently, power shortages have become severe.

The shifts will ensure the power supply to more than 6 million residents in this city after 6 PM, Shen added.

At the same time, hotels, restaurants, large malls, supermarkets and office buildings are asked to operate with only half of their air-conditioners in use to join in the power-saving campaign.

Besides cinemas and theatres, all entertainment venues are required to shut down their air-conditioners during the 5:30 PM to 11 PM peak period.

Many scenic lamps, lights for advertising usage and half of the downtown street lamps are shut off, as well.

Zhejiang Province has suffered the most severe electricity shortages of any area across the country this year, while the government has taken various measures to guarantee power suppliers.

(China Daily July 20, 2004)

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