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No Power Shortages Expected This Year
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There will not be any large-scale power shortages this year, the electricity industry watchdog said yesterday, allaying concerns of previous years.

"With a number of power stations coming on line, there will be a balance between supply and demand this year," Wang Yeping, vice-chairman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), told a press conference.

In 2004, the country suffered its most serious shortages, with 24 provinces and regions affected despite power generation rising 14.9 percent over the previous year.

And in the following two years, the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas - the nation's economic powerhouses - grappled with shortages.

This year, the generation capacity is expected to reach 700 gigawatts, said Wang, adding that installed capacity would increase by 90-95 gigawatts.

Installed capacity rose 20.3 percent year-on-year to 622 gigawatts by the end of 2006, of which coal-fired power plants accounted for 77.82 percent, he said.

China will take further steps to delink power plants from power grids, said the SERC.

There are currently more than 4,000 electricity generators each with a capacity of 6 megawatts or more. Roughly 90 percent of them are state-owned enterprises or companies in which the state holds a controlling stake.

The power transmission segment is a monopoly with the State Grid Corporation of China and the China Southern Grid Corporation accounting for 80 percent and 20 percent of the extra-high-voltage grids.

The main power producers such as China Huaneng Group and China Datang Corp are listed on the domestic or overseas stock markets. However, the State Grid said that it has no listing plans for now.

Meanwhile, the SERC yesterday denied that it has suggested setting up an energy ministry.

"We have not submitted a proposal to the central government on the establishment of the ministry," Wang said, refuting media reports.

On March 28 the SERC, together with the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance, jointly released a research report which recommended that "an electricity sector policy-making entity, like the Ministry of Energy, should be established in China, based probably on the restructuring of the existing institutions".

(China Daily April 6, 2007)

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