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Power consumption growth to slow in 2nd half
Updated: 2004-08-20 15:44

Growth in China's power consumption is expected to ease in the second half of 2004 as government measures to slow investment and rising electricity prices cool demand.

China's energy needs were forecast to slow to growth of 12-15 percent this year, compared with a 15.4-percent rise in 2003 said an official from the State Grid Corp.

"The central government's macroeconomic measures to cool overheated industries in the steel, aluminum and cement sectors will limit power demand in the second half," said Zhang Muhong.

Industries are expected to curb electricity usage after the government raised electricity prices in four major regions by an average 0.022 yuan (0.0026 US cents) per kilowatt hour, the second price hike this year.

The National Development and Reform Commission raised retail electricity prices by 0.008 yuan per kilowatt hour earlier this year.

Electricity demand should rise to 16 percent on a yearly basis in the first half, driven by energy-hungry industries, according to State-owned power transmission, the State Grid Corp.

In spite of slowing demand, China would continue to suffer power shortages in the second half due to inadequate coal supplies, Zhang said.

A massive transport bottleneck on the country's railway network is to blame for lengthy delivery delays of the commodity to the nation's power generators.

With some producers set to run out of coal, China has undergone its worst power crunch in two decades.

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