Tight power supply this summer despite cooling economy


China will be short between 25 million kilowatts and 37 million kilowatts of electricity this summer, particularly in the northern and eastern regions, although the economy is heading for a slowdown, the State Grid Corp. of China said Friday.

The country's power supply is expected to be relatively tight from June to September when electricity consumption in 26 provinces will grow 9.3 percent from a year ago, said the State Grid, China's largest electricity supplier.

"Even though we have a better supply-and-demand situation this summer, the power load will continue its two-digit growth once the economy rebounds," said Yin Changxin, director of the Work Safety Department with the State Grid.

Yin said less newly-added electricity generating capacity, uncertainty in thermal coal supplies as well as unpredictable weather will complicate the power supply-and-demand situation.

Earlier last month, the China Electricity Council (CEC) warned that some parts of the country will experience severe blackouts this summer as the result of an electricity shortage of 30 million kilowatts to 40 million kilowatts

According to the CEC's projection, China's more developed eastern and southern regions will bear the brunt of the shortages, followed by north and central China. However, northeast and northwest China regions are expected to see an electricity surplus.

China has suffered seasonal power shortages in recent decades due to steadily climbing electricity use, rapid economic growth and an unwillingness on the part of coal-fired plants to produce more energy amid rising costs and decreased prices.

The country's power consumption decelerated in April amid slowing industrial activities during the period, underlining cooling economic growth, which slowed to 8.1 percent in the first quarter of this year from 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Energy consumption rose 3.7 percent year on year to 389.9 billion kWh in April, down 3.3 percentage points from that in March, according to data released by the National Energy Administration (NEA).

For the first four months, electricity consumption increased only 6 percent from a year ago to 1.56 trillion kWh, according to the NEA.


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