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Top leaders take lead in energy-saving drive
Updated: 2005-07-28 15:11

China's top leaders are setting an example in a nationwide drive of energy conservation by ordering the cooled state guesthouses and meeting rooms being made warmer. 

A decree says that air conditioners in meeting rooms at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing should be set at 25 C (77 F) and go on 30 minutes before a function, the overseas edition of the People's Daily reported.

Lights will be turned on just five minutes beforehand, according to the decree.

In the past the air conditioners would be set at 23 C and rev up 60-90 minutes ahead of an event, the report said.

With the nation sweltering in a seemingly endless heatwave, and soaring electricity demand threatening more power cuts, the authorities decided to set an example by reducing consumption, the Reuters said.

Weeks ago, Premier Wen Jiabao urged all the governmental departments to regulate their air conditioners at 26 C or above and suggested government workers take off the Western-style suits while in office.

Beijing Municipal Government on Tuesday called on local residents who live in apartments below the third floor to walk the stairs, to avoid taking elevators, in a bid to save energy, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

"All hotels should keep the temperature of air-conditioners at or above 26 degrees Celsius. People living below the third floor are encouraged to walk," the local government said in an open letter.

Power shortages have become a major issue in many parts of China since 2003. Nineteen out of 31 province-level regions on the Chinese mainland suffered from power shortages in 2003, and 24 in 2004, according to Xinhua.

The State Power Grid Corporation has predicted an electricity shortfall of 25 million kilowatt-hours nationwide this summer. In Beijing, there will an estimated shortfall of 10.7 million kwh of electricity in Summer this year, Xinhua said.

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