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June 15, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Air-con curbs to plug power gap

Major office buildings in Shanghai will have to shut down their air-conditioning for an hour during this summer's hottest days as the city struggles to bridge its power supply gap, local authorities said yesterday.

Office buildings with power consumption exceeding 100 kilowatt-hours will be required to switch off their air-conditioning for an hour between 12:30pm and 3:30pm once temperatures rise above 35 degree Celsius, the city's power supplier said.

Gu Weicheng, an official with the Shanghai Electric Power Co, said the Yangpu and Fengxian districts were the two places where power shortages were expected to be most severe.

The air-conditioning switch off is also expected to affect businesses in Zhabei, Hongkou and Baoshan districts, and suburban areas including Songjiang and Minhang, according to the electricity authority.

About 24,000 companies have been informed to get ready for possible power cuts during peak hours this summer, the company said.

Shopping malls will also be asked to close temporarily if temperatures reach 37 degree Celsius.

Gu Xingyu, 25, a local IT engineer whose company has already turned on the air-conditioning, said he would support the policy. "It's only one hour. We can endure that. If it's too hot, I can use a fan."

However, Wang Chen, who works in the China Merchants Plaza on Weihai Road, was not in favor of the police if it meant that his workplace was affected. "I don't want to stay in a sweltering office room. It will drive me crazy to endure all the heat emitted by computers and machines during that hour."

Gu said so far there was no system in place to ensure companies follow the policy. "We just need the cooperation from companies," he said.

The city is facing a total shortage of up to 2.1 million kilowatts in the upcoming summer season, as its power load is expected to reach up to 28.5 million kilowatts during peak hours - up 7 percent from last year.

The electricity company said the city plans to buy 8.9 million kilowatts from Anhui, Fujian, Sichuan and Hubei provinces and Chongqing.

The city will then be able to draw on 27.6 million kilowatts of power, leaving a shortfall of 0.9 million kilowatts.

For emergency situations, such as household blackouts, residents can call 95598 to seek help and generator vehicles will be sent into communities, the company said.


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