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Consumers stingy over energy subsidies
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A new survey shows that consumers want government subsidies designed to save energy to go to them, rather than manufacturers or suppliers.

More than half of the respondents favored the consumer-centered approach, according to the 2008 report on household energy saving, released yesterday by the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress.

The support rate for giving a break to manufacturers of energy-saving products ranked second at 36.6 percent, while only 10.7 percent thought subsidies should be offered to suppliers. Local government has said it intends to launch inducements to save energy, but detailed plans have not been revealed.

The report also said urban residents consumed 13.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2007, up from 12.2 billion kwh in 2006 and 10.9 billion kwh in 2005.

Similar increases occurred in household use of fuels such as coal gas, liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas. Total consumption jumped 7.8 percent in 2007 to the equivalent of 1.66 million tons of standard coal.

Per-capita spending on fuel in the first half of this year for transport by families in the highest income bracket exceeded the figure for low-income families by 23 times.

The most popular energy-saving product was low-power lighting. The survey showed that 96.5 percent of local families used energy-saving lighting at home. About 54 percent using energy-saving appliances and 14.6 percent used energy-saving gas appliances. The report also showed an age-group disparity in ways to encourage energy conservation.

Residents under 30 favored volume restrictions on energy consumption. Those from 40 to 50 years old tended to prefer price adjustments, while seniors said they wanted government to put a greater emphasis on punishing energy waste.

Another survey of 287 city enterprises found that mainland companies know more about the laws and regulations governing energy efficiency than those invested by Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan interests.

(Shanghai Daily October 14, 2008)

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