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Bund Blackout Sends Powerful Signal
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Shanghai's Bund lost its dazzling shine for half an hour Sunday night when all landscape lighting outside the historical buildings went dark.


But it wasn't an accident - the lights were switched off by state energy authorities to remind people what will happen if they don't save energy as a matter of course.


The message was spread across eight cities in China, including Beijing, Harbin, Xi'an, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chongqing and Shenzhen. All turned off landscape lighting at scenic spots at 8 pm for 30 minutes.


In Shanghai, nearly 100 buildings along the Huangpu River had their lights turned off. The amount of electricity saved this way was not big - estimated to be around 1,400 kilowatt-hours and worth about 1,200 yuan (US$158).


"I felt a big loss when all the lights were turned off as the buildings disappeared in the darkness," said Zhou Mengdi, a 15-year-old senior high school girl who is a member of her school's energy conservation association.


Lighting along the Bund was turned off between 2003 and 2005, when the city was in the middle of a severe power shortage.


"This is just to let the public experience the impact of living without power and improve their energy-saving awareness," said Lan Yujun, secretary general of the city's energy conservation association.


In total the city has around 20,000 kilowatts of landscape lighting, half of which is run by the landscape lighting management center.


The city plans to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent per unit of gross domestic product compared with consumption in 2005, when it used energy equivalent to 1.03 tons of coal for generation of every 100,000 yuan in GDP.


(Shanghai Daily September 24, 2007)


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