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Shanghai residents face higher electricity fees under new tariff system

SHANGHAI residents will have to pay more for the electricity they use beyond a given quota starting next month under a graduated power tariff system designed to conserve energy.

The local government said today it has chosen a plan that uses one year as a calculation period to implement the mechanism and will give a higher quota to households with five people or more.

Under the plan, a household pays what it currently pays until consumption hits 3,120 kilowatts hours (260 kwh a month times 12). The household then pays a higher rate for the rest of the year.

Shanghai has set a "basic needs" figure at 260 kwh a month, the average consumption of 80 percent of the city's households last year. Increased charges will kick in once consumption surpasses the quota.

Shanghai's basic needs category is the highest on the Chinese mainland given its higher level of economic development. However, some participants at a public hearing last month asked for an even higher quota because most people in the city, unlike northern cities such as Beijing that have central heating, rely on heaters and air conditioners.

The National Development and Reform Commission let local authorities set their own plan in the progressive tariff system, but any plan should ensure at least 80 percent of local households are unaffected.


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