The municipal government on Sunday started a week-long check of heating services after a strong cold front hit the city.
The public utilities administration is sending teams to conduct random checks of heating. Inspectors can penalize heating service providers if interior residential temperatures are below standard, with fines as high as 30,000 yuan (4,360 U.S. dollars).
The standards are set at 16 degrees Celsius for residential buildings and houses and 20 to 22 degrees Celsius for hotels and restaurants. As part of an energy-conservation drive, temperatures in official buildings and shopping malls can't exceed 20 degrees Celsius.
Heat service providers may not cut off heating over late payments. The government said it provides subsidies to the companies and customers who genuinely can't afford to pay will get waivers
(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2008)