09/30/2004, 00.00
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Power shortfall in Shanghai could lead to winter rationing

Shanghai (AsiaNews/SCMP) - Shanghai will face a power shortage this winter, prompting officials to consider whether rationing measures similar to those imposed over the summer are needed.

The shortages will ease some time between 2006 and 2008, the Shanghai Morning Post and Shanghai Daily reported.

Officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The city forced more than 7,000 companies to change production hours or give workers holidays to save electricity this summer.

Although officials have previously described the shortfall as a seasonal problem, Shanghai is  now expected to face a power shortage of 1.4 million to 1.6 million kilowatts from December until next spring.

Peak demand was forecast to reach more than 14 million kW over the period, lower than the summer high of 17 million kW. But the outlook for next summer was "extremely serious", with peak demand expected to hit 19 million kW, reports said.

Shanghai will not put new power generators on line until 2006. The city will try to make up the shortfall by increasing efficiency and buying power from other provinces.

Foreign companies have complained about the inconvenience caused by power shortages. In its annual policy white paper, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai cited electricity shortages as one of the issues affecting the city's business environment.

Separately, an industry official has forecast that the mainland's power shortage should start to ease from late next year and 2006, because of government moves to slow and reform the economy.

The vice-chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Enterprises, Ye Rongsi, was quoted by the Beijing News as saying most areas would see an improvement after next summer.

China plans to add 150 million kW of generating capacity between this year and 2006, the newspaper said. More than two-thirds of provinces have suffered shortages because of rapid economic growth and poor planning.

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