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January 14, 2010

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Power peaks as cold hits low

SHANGHAI'S power consumption demand hit a new record yesterday - topping 20 million kilowatts - with the city shivering on its coldest day this winter.

The minimum temperature dipped to minus 3.6 degrees Celsius in urban areas, and the high reached only 1.3 degrees. Both figures were the lowest this winter.

Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd, the city's power supplier, said the electricity load reached 20.13 million kilowatts at 10:40am, setting the new winter record in just two days.

With 4.6 million kilowatts supplied from other provinces, the city's power capacity remained stable yesterday without restraints placed on city factories, said Wang Changxing, official of the company.

However, about 7,000 plants have been alerted to the potential of a power shortage today, when the minimum temperature is expected to be lower and the peak load likely to hit 20.5 million kilowatts, Wang said.

"Generally, the power demand will peak on the second day of a continuous temperature change, whether it is going up or down," Wang told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

"The situation could be worse tomorrow if the support from the national grid isn't enough."

Wang said the company is trying its best to ensure that the power supply from other provinces is maintained at about 4.5 to 4.6 million kilowatts.

The weather should be sunny to cloudy today with a low of minus 4 degrees and high of 8.

Warmer tomorrow

The city should start to get warmer tomorrow, the temperature dropping no lower than 2 degrees, the weatherman said.

Hospital officials said children, the elderly and people with heart trouble or respiratory diseases are those the most likely to be affected by the cold weather.

Xia Lin, of Shanghai Children's Medical Center, said 3,500 to 3,800 patients sought out-patient or emergency services at the medical center each day this week.

"Many children suffered cold and fever under the changing temperature," she said. "The daily outpatient and emergency service this month is 15 percent more than that in December."

She reminded parents of children's potential to catch cold after having a bath.

Li Xin, of Shanghai East Hospital, said people should keep warm, and avoid big temperature differences, indoors and out.

Because of the cold, many schools loosened their arrival time for students, and some allowed them to wear their own clothes instead of school uniforms to keep warmer.


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