Factory-rich provinces thirst for electricity

Updated: 2011-04-26 13:30

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - East China's industry-heavy Zhejiang province is feeling drained as it grapples with strong demand and a resulting shortage of power that insiders say may be the worst since 2004.

Dai Yan, deputy director of the electricity dispatching center at the Zhejiang branch of the National Grid, said the province is facing severe shortages. Dai said Zhejiang has been buying electricity from neighboring provinces since the start of the year to quench its thirst.

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"The demand for electricity intensified after Spring Festival and the shortage has been about 2 to 3 million kilowatts each day," Dai was quoted as saying by China National Radio. "We have bought all of the available electricity from other provinces."

He said more than 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity was being sucked in from neighboring provinces each day in a bid to meet the demands of the province.

The provincial government has been trying to deal with the problem and has been rationing electrical power since early this year.

During the first quarter of the year, more than 500,000 enterprises in the province were operating according to a rotating electricity supply schedule.

Local power authorities said the province used 15 percent more electricity in the first quarter of the year than it had during the same period last year.

In some energy-hungry industries - such as chemical and non-ferrous metal manufacturing - demand has shot up by as much as 20 percent compared to last year.

Zhejiang is not the only place suffering from power shortages because of soaring demand.

During the first three months of the year, Jiangxi province bought more than 20 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from neighboring regions, an increase of 39 percent on last year, according to National Business Daily.

Jiangsu province is in a similar situation and its electricity consumption during the first quarter increased by 15 percent compared to last year.

Places with a significant manufacturing sector, such as Guangdong, have also been rotating power supply among their factories to ensure continuous supply for residential use.

Many manufacturers, who worried that rolling power cuts will cut into their profits, stepped up production during the hours when power was available and that spike led to further shortages across the country.

Wang Yonggan, an adviser to the China Electricity Council, forecast that power shortages in Jiangsu province between 2011 and 2015 could amount to 15 million kilowatts. In Zhejiang province the shortage could be more than 10 million kilowatts, Wang said.



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