Chinese Endure Power Shortages as Coal Runs Short


"Winter coal supplies fall short of surging energy requirements."

Power cuts and rationing are hitting parts of central and northern China as winter coal supplies fall short of surging energy requirements due to extreme cold and transport disruptions.

China's State Grid, the government power provider, said in reports seen on Monday on its websites that recent winter storms had pushed demand higher while causing traffic disruptions that have hindered coal deliveries.

China depends on coal for more than three-quarters of its electricity and also to fuel centralized winter heating systems in northern cities. Spates of unusually cold weather often strain supplies, with power rationing not uncommon.

About 620,000 households were left without power due to bad weather in Zhejiang, a province west of Shanghai, a report on the State Grid website said. It said power was being restored.

Some coal suppliers are reportedly holding back on shipments to power companies because contract prices for coal were below market prices, a chronic problem in China's state-dominated economy.

State-run China National Radio reported the province was imposing power cuts and rationing since it is unable to use about 40% of its power generating capacity. Likewise, neighboring Hubei province was stopping some generators, citing an urgent need to conserve coal supplies, it said.

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