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February 15, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Blame bills on cold, says power firm

SOARING electricity bills last month were due to freezing weather, not overcharging, Shanghai's power supplier yesterday told disgruntled customers.

Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd said power consumption in January was up 40 percent on December, as the city endured its lowest temperatures in 34 years.

This explains higher bills, said the company in response to online comments about rocketing charges.

The power load last month peaked at 22 million kilowatts on January 20, 2 million more than the maximum figure in December, the company said.

Experts said the increased demand would mainly be consumed by household appliances, such as heaters and air-conditioner units, as they attempted to cope with the cold.

"Generally, the lower the outdoor temperature, the more power an air-conditioner compressor requires to keep a room warm," the power supplier said. "And if the indoor temperature does not reach the set figure due to the cold outside, the air-conditioner keeps running, which also increases consumption."

Aging wires in some apartments could also lead to more electricity consumption, the company added.

Complaints about electricity charges began appearing online last weekend, after Shanghai residents received their bills.

Many claimed the increase in their bill was out of proportion to any increase in consumption.

"I admit that I used the air-conditioner a little more last month, but such an increase is absurd," complained a web user surnamed Zheng. She was charged 522 yuan (US$79) in January, after only paying 226 yuan in December.

Another web user, surnamed Mao, said they were asked to pay 550 yuan for January - 212 yuan more than December's bill.

Shanghai Electric Power said the rate remained 0.617 yuan per kilowatt hour. It added that residents could call the power hotline on 95598 with any queries.


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