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China Braces for Summer Power Shortage

Room temperatures in Beijing municipal government offices will be kept above 26 centigrade this summer to help ameliorate power shortages in the city, says an order issued by the municipal government.

"We will continue to experience an electricity shortage this year, despite the rapid growth of our electricity generating capacity," said Wang Yonggan, secretary-general of the China Electricity Council (CEC), an association of Chinese electricity businesses, adding that the deficit will be much lower than in 2004.

Power shortages have become a major issue in many parts of China since 2003. Nineteen out of 31 province-level regions on the Chinese mainland suffered from power shortages in 2003, and 24 in 2004.

The order from Beijing also says differential electricity prices will be implemented to guide businesses to use electricity in off-peak hours.

It also asks government functionaries to form the habit of turning off the lights when they leave their offices.

South China's Guangdong province put in place a new electricity rate system on April 1 that enlarges the gap between peak-hour electricity prices and off-peak hour electricity prices.

The provincial capital Guangzhou adopted a policy of protecting premium businesses. A few high-pollution small businesses in Zengcheng and Conghua have been ordered to stop production.

North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has been reshuffling the industrial sector to promote economical use of electricity and eliminate antiquated, energy-intensive businesses.

Analysts say China will achieve a general balance between electricity supply and demand in 2006.

(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2005)

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