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Coal supplies run low at power plants

Updated: 2010-02-04

China is still suffering from a coal shortage during the ongoing cold weather and electricity rationing has continued in five provinces and municipalities.

Coal supplies run low at power plants

A Kazak woman takes a bus in Koktokay, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, where the local temperature dropped to minus 40 C. Shen Qiao

As of Sunday, coal reserves in 598 major power plants were decreasing and were only enough to last for nine days. Coal storage in 205 power plants will last for seven days, an alarming level, the National Power Dispatch and Communication Center said.

The situation worsened in 11 percent of the power plants which will shut production any time coal reserves cannot support three days of power generation.

On Sunday, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Hubei and Chongqing continued electricity rationing because of power shortages.

The temperature in parts of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, northern China and northeastern China was expected to fall by six to eight degrees Celsius, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Some regions in southern China would experience small or moderate snowfall during the period, the administration forecast.

The death toll has risen to two in the current strong snowstorm in Altai, a county-level city in the northern part of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The local government will move more than 5,400 local people to safer places.

At present, all the main highways in the city are clear of obstructions and smooth. Various kinds of materials, such as forage grass and fodder, have been sent to areas where the herdsmen live.

Residents in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, are experiencing a hard period with high prices for vegetables and fruits.

"I bought cabbage for 3.5 yuan ($0.40) per kg, which has risen nearly one yuan in price," a customer in a local food market told China Daily.

Many greengrocers in the market have equipped sheds to keep their vegetables warm.

"I put my own quilts on them in case of frost damage. Otherwise, the losses will be great," a greengrocer said.

In Beijing, nearly 4,600 boiler plants have been put into use. The heating area has reached nearly 600 million sq m.

"So far, less than one percent of the whole city's heating area has no heat supply, and that's because of disputes over charges or the heating projects have not been finished yet," said a staff member from the Beijing administrative office of urban heating system.

"The indoor temperature is around 18 degrees, which is comfortable. During the coldest period of the day, with an electric heater, it won't be too cold to stay in the room," said Liu Yi, a Beijing resident living in a bungalow.

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