BEIJING - Thousands of people in a Central China city may have to endure freezing weather for the rest of this winter after part of the city's heating service was stopped due to the enforced closure of a major local power plant to meet energy-saving goals.
Fu Zaocheng, manager of Bikun Heating Company in Linzhou city of Central China's Henan province told China Daily on Wednesday that one of the city's two heating providers had stopped its service on Jan 5.
The heating problem came after the Linzhou Youchuang Power Co, a local coal-fired power plant, which also supplies power for the city's two heating providers, was ordered to cease operations at the end of last year. The decision was made to meet the city government's rules on energy saving.
On Jan 5, two cooling towers were dismantled at the power plant, causing the loss of power supply for both Fu's company and Liyuan Heating Company, the city's other heating provider.
Fu said his company managed to secure power from a local steel mill and thus was still supplying heating to more than 1,500 households in the city.
But Liyuan Heating Company has failed to find an alternative power supplier and cannot supply heating for its clients, which include schools, hospitals, government buildings and about 3,500 households.
The interruption to the heating service came as temperatures in Linzhou fell to -10 C.
The Linzhou People's Hospital was using its own heating system to keep wards warm, a receptionist at the hospital who declined to give her name told China Daily on Wednesday.
Liyuan had started refunding service charges, the Beijing News reported on Wednesday, after some residents complained that they could not adapt to a winter without indoor heating.
Fu blamed the heating problem on the delayed construction of a new power plant to replace Youchuang.
The new plant, which was still under construction, should have started operating in July 2010, he added.
The mandatory requirement for local governments to save energy and cut emissions has prompted several instances of restricted power supply across the country since mid-2010.
In late August, an across-the-board limit on power supply was imposed to meet the targets for energy saving and emissions control in Anping county in North China's Hebei province.
The limit was scrapped in early September after media reported that the move had caused a lot of inconvenience to residents.