Power runs short in South China

NANNING – The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is seeing its most serious electricity shortage in the past two decades, leaving nearly 30 percent of the region’s demand for electricity unmet, local power authorities say.

The region can generate about 9 million kilowatts and buys about 1 million kW from other provinces.

That is not enough to provide the 13 million kW of electrical capacity the region needs in total, said Gu Nanfeng, deputy chief engineer of Guangxi Power Grid Corporation.

In Nanning alone, the government began on June 27 to restrict the power use of 1,049 industrial companies. That step will save about 300,000 kW for civil use, said He Jiyuan, deputy director of the Nanning Electricity Supply Bureau.

Guangxi falls about 3.5 million to 4 million kW short of being able to produce what it needs. Every day, the amount of its shortage comes to between 80 million to 90 million kWh, which means 30 percent of its demand for electricity is not being satisfied.

The region’s troubles have several sources.

In the upper reaches of the local Hongshui River, the water does not stand high enough to be of use in generating hydropower. Making matters worse is a shortage of coal, which has caused the generators at many local power plants to cease running.

Li Shengru, manager of the Shengshan Cement Company in Hengxian county, said he had to resort to using a reserve generator.

“The government told us a month ago the electricity was going to be cut,” Li said. “We understand the situation and hope it will become better.”

To lower the region’s demand for electricity, the government has called on residents to run their air conditioners less often.

“And we mandated that the temperature that air conditioners are set at in public places be always higher than 26 C,” He Jiyuan said. In other public venues in Nanning, landscape lighting has been turned off.

Still, local residents cannot avoid a blackout from time to time. Some of them complain about inconveniences.

Liu Xiaoqiong, a resident of Jiangnan district in Nanning, said she has seen frequently power cuts since late June.

“We were not informed about the blackout ahead of time, and I am really afraid that the electricity will be cut off when I am in the elevator,” Liu said.

Mo Qu, a resident living in Beihulu Road, said that all of his gold fish, most of which are expensive, were killed because the blackout prevented the pump that supplies oxygen to his pets from working.

Besides in Guangxi, electricity shortages have occurred in most of China’s provinces and cities that do not have large reserves of coal.

During a seminar on June 1, Bai Jianhua, deputy chief economist of the State Grid Energy Research Institute, said North China lacks the capacity to generate 6 million kW of the electricity it needs, East China to generate 16 million kW and Central China to generate 7 million kW, according to a report from Shanghai-based China Business News.

Speaking at a later conference, Liu Tienan, head of the National Energy Administration, said that China’s electricity supply will be most stretched “when everyone in the country is turning on their air conditioners”.

China Daily

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