China sees more energy shortages
China's hunger for electricity will create more shortages through early 2005 in the country's booming coastal areas -- the main driver behind growth in the world's seventh largest economy, CCTV said on Sunday.
But despite predicted consumption growth of 13.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004 and 12.7 percent in the three months through March, large increases in household power rates were unlikely, it said.
"The power will be in great demand for the power grids of Northwest China, North China and Sichuan-Chongqing while East China, Central China and Southern China power grids will be facing a shortage of power supply," China Central Television said, citing a report from the National Power Regulatory Commission.
"Among them, the East China power grid will be confronted with the most severe shortage of power supply," it said.
The report did not say whether the growth rates were in comparison with year-ago periods or with the previous quarters.
China would take some "positive measures to cope with the prevailing situation and will not massively raise electricity prices for households," it said, citing the power commission under the National Development and Reform Commission.
It gave no details on what measures it would take.
Some media reports have suggested high oil and coal costs would force the government into making heavy price rises to cope with nagging power shortages.
China, the world's second-largest power consumer after the United States, had raised its electricity rates twice this year to help generators cope with rising coal prices.
Heat waves caused brownouts across half of the country last year, and this summer soaring temperatures in China's business capital of Shanghai severely taxed power grids and forced multinationals such as Volkswagen AG to curb output.
China had generated 1.74 trillion Kw of power in the first 10 months of the year, up 15 percent from the same period of 2003, the Economic Daily quoted Jia Yinsong, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, as saying.
But 24 provinces and municipalities were forced to cut off the electricity due to the shortage of power in the same period, he said.
During the summer, the power shortfall in China was about 30 million Kw, Jia said, adding that he regarded energy and transportation as "bottlenecks" for the development of the national economy in 2005.