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Beijing to Keep a Lid on Climate in Offices

Room temperatures in Beijing government offices will be kept above 26 degrees Celsius this summer to help reduce strain on electricity supplies, says an order issued by the municipal government.

"We will continue to experience an electricity shortage this year, despite the rapid growth of generating capacity," says Wang Yonggan, secretary-general of the China Electricity Council, an industry association. He says the deficit will be much lower this summer compared to last year.

Power shortages have become a major issue in many parts of the country since 2003. Nineteen out of 31 province-level regions on the Chinese mainland suffered power shortages in 2003, while it increased to 24 in 2004.

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

It also asks government employees to form the habit of turning off lights when they leave offices for the day.

Guangdong Province introduced a new electricity rate system on April 1, enlarging the gap between peak-hour electricity prices and off-peak hour prices.

Guangzhou, the provincial capital, adopted a policy of protecting premium businesses. Several high-polluting small businesses in Zengcheng and Conghua have been ordered to stop production.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has reshuffled the industrial sector to promote economical use of electricity.

Analysts say electricity supply will meet demand in 2006.

(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2005)

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