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June 13, 2012

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Power rationing may increase this summer

SHANGHAI'S commercial and office buildings will face power rationing to meet the shortage of electricity during summer peak periods, local power authorities said yesterday.

But the measure will be launched only as a last resort in areas where power grids are broken and the temperatures continue to rise above 37 Celsius for several days in the city, officials said.

Although the average power consumption from January to May has shown slow growth, 2 to 3 percent, as the mix of industries in the city has changed, Shanghai still faces a potential shortage of electricity during peak periods in summer.

"There could be power shortages in part of the regions," said Chen Fangzeng, deputy general manager of the Shanghai Electric Power Co, the city's power supplier.

Chen said the demand in Shanghai was predicted to be between 27,500 and 29,000 megawatts during peak hours, and most likely, the highest demand would reach 28,500 megawatts, 40 percent of which is consumed by air conditioners.

That still leaves a possible 500-megawatt shortfall, since Shanghai is limited to 28,000 megawatts, of which 19,100 megawatts is generated in the city and 8,900 megawatts in neighboring provinces.

"That's why we included more office buildings and department stores this year, to share the burden of power saving," said Chen of the rationing plan.

Nearby office buildings and department stores will be asked to turn off their air conditioners at peak hours if an area is hit by a power failure or malfunction.

Also, every five commercial or office buildings will be assigned two employees from the power company who will monitor whether the temperature in the buildings is kept over 26 Celsius degrees to save power.

"It will not have much effect if one of the several water chiller units in the building is shut down for four to six hours," Chen said.

Starting Friday, power conservation plans will be activated. Workshops in some chemical plants and steel mills will work only during off-peak hours, even on weekends, to avoid potential power shortages, Chen said.

"It is our first task to ensure the power supply of local households," Chen said.

However, the city's Yangpu and Hongkou districts may face more severe power shortages than other districts this summer due to the lack of substations.


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