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Time's right to raise power prices: experts

By Du Juan (China Daily)

16:24, November 15, 2011

Workers put up transmission wires in Haimen city, Jiangsu province.(China Daily)

BEIJING - Now is a good time to raise electricity prices to ease power plants' losses while China's inflationary pressure is easing, experts with the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Monday.

The government has to confront the severe discrepancy between coal and power prices when power shortages become serious again this winter, said Jiang Kejun, a researcher at the institute, which is an energy policy think tank for the country's top economic planner.

"Considering the effect on inflation, the government has been hesitant to raise the on-grid power prices," Jiang said. "But with China's inflation easing to a five-month low last month, this is a good moment to make the move."

The consumer price index edged down to 5.5 percent year-on-year in October from 6.1 percent in September, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

"Coal prices are soaring, which has increased the costs of power plants," Jiang said. "To raise the electricity price could ease the situation to some extent, but it is still not a complete solution."

He said China needs an effective system to balance the discrepancy between coal and power prices, which has gone on for many years.

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