China scraps preferential power rates for energy-intensive firms

21:26, August 06, 2010      

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Preferential electricity rates granted by 22 provincial governments for high energy-consuming businesses have been totally scrapped, China's top economic planner announced Friday.

All energy-intensive enterprises must be subject to the new power tariff surcharges introduced in May, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in a statement posted on its website.

The news comes three days after Chinese statistics authorities said China's consumption of energy relative to economic output rose in the first half by 0.09 percent from the same period last year.

"This points to the difficulty of the country reaching its target of improving energy efficiency by 20 percent between 2005 and 2010," said Li Zuojun, researcher of energy policies at the Development Research Center of the State Council.

The National Bureau of Statistics said China had reduced its energy use by 15.6 percent relative to economic output from 2005 to 2009.

"China has stepped up measures to curb energy-intensive sectors in the past five years, and progress has been made, but reaching the 20-percent target will be a tough task," he said.

However, the end of the preferential electricity prices represented a major step to enhance the energy efficiency of China's economy, Li said.

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