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UPDATED: 15:18, July 19, 2004
Power deficit to be relieved soon
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Many areas in China are plagued by power shortages, but experts say that efforts to jolt new energy into the nation's power grids are surging ahead with relief arriving as soon as next year, according to Monday's China Daily.

Rapid economic growth and scorching heat have been blamed for draining the nation's electrical supply, and big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have either let company employees enjoy paid vacation or asked people to minimize use of air conditioners.

Besides Beijing and Shanghai, provinces and regions that are suffering severe power shortages this summer also include central and western Inner Mongolia and Shanxi in North China, Yunnan and Guizhou in Southwest China, according to a report from China Central Television Station (CCTV).

Yu Xinyang, a leading engineer with the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, told CCTV that Yunnan and Guizhou, both dependent on hydropower, felt a power pinch this year because of drought last year.

"The drought has caused a sharp reduction in water flow and thus in hydropower. Besides, the two provinces have to fulfill contracts with Guangdong Province to transport electricity there," said Yu.

Inner Mongolia and Shanxi were short of power because energy-consuming industries there use a lot of power, Yu said.

As electricity prices have traditionally been lower in the two regions than others, many energy-consuming industries have settled down there, Yu said.

Though Shanxi is abundant in coal, local power stations have not stockpiled enough coal to meet the increasing demand.

"Local coal mines are willing to sell coal to other provinces for a better price," Yu said.

However, the engineer said the power shortage is not going to last long.

The government has been constructing many new power plants across the nation in the past few years.

Cao Yushu, National Development and Reform Commission spokesman, said dozens of new generators capable of producing up to 37 million kilowatts will be put into production by the end of this year.

The government also approved plans in 2003 for the construction of 26 power generators with a total capacity of up to 11.37 million kilowatts.

A total of 92 projects, reaching a capacity of 83.91 million kilowatts have been outlined in a feasibility study.

Source: China Daily

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