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November 18, 2009

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Gas use rationed as cold hits Wuhan

CENTRAL China's Wuhan cut off natural gas supply to another 20 businesses yesterday due to increasing demand amid cold weather and heavy snow, bringing the number of affected firms to 76.

The government of Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, began cutting off natural gas to companies and taxi gas stations on Monday in an effort to ensure a stable supply for residential use.

Temperatures have fallen to as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius, driving up energy consumption, officials said.

The measure has helped offset a deficit of some 680,000 cubic meters of natural gas supply, but there is still a daily gap of 40,000 cubic meters, said Xu Jin, director of the energy resources department at the Wuhan Municipal Development and Reform Commission.

The city government also decided to pay 100 yuan (US$15) as a daily subsidy to some 8,300 cab drivers, who have to turn to gasoline due to the natural gas shortage. It was not known yesterday when the suspension of gas supply would come to an end, Xu said.

In Changsha, capital of neighboring Hunan Province, the government is working on a plan to alleviate its own natural gas shortage in the cold weather.

The city is about 400,000 cubic meters short of meeting daily demand, according to the Changsha Municipal Public Affairs Bureau.


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