The Ministry of Commerce has transported 1.9 million candles to the southwestern Guizhou Province, where a power failure triggered by winter storms caused widespread blackouts.
The candles, valued at 1.1 million yuan (about 150,000 U.S. dollars), would be dispensed to local residents for free as soon as possible, an official with the Guizhou Provincial Commerce Department said.
Old-style energy sources such as candles and coal balls (used for heating and cooking) have made a comeback in places where snow and sleet have caused power failures in the landlocked province.
According to the 21st Century Business Herald, officials with the local disaster relief headquarters had to light candles to hold a conference after power supplies failed.
In Chenzhou city, in neighboring Hunan Province, power and water have been off for days and the price of candles has soared.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)