Sucked dry, Guangdong casts nets for energy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 12:00am

Province to buy more power from HK and further afield to placate consumers

Guangdong has been unable to solve its power shortage problems and will have to purchase more electricity from Hong Kong and other regions this year.

Despite having taken various measures to save power, including reducing supply in 21 cities and counties across the province, the supply company admitted the problem had not been solved so far, Xinhua reported.

The gap was mainly due to a sharp increase in demand, according to Guangdong Guang-dian Power Grid Group.

The report said Guangdong authorities would buy 2 billion kWh of electricity from Hong Kong and 27.5 billion kWh from mainland provinces this year. The energy problem is attributed to the fast-growing economy and an underdeveloped power market.

The power supply company, while trying to safeguard the interests of all users, would prioritise supply to consumers and key enterprises, according to Xinhua.

The company had worked out emergency plans to avoid big blackouts, such as the ones that hit the US and Canada last year, Xinhua said.

Local media reported earlier that big enterprises were the biggest victims of electricity rationing.

Last week, Guangzhou power authorities proposed cutting electricity to unnecessary decorative lighting.

Electricity shortage has worried some Hong Kong investors. Last week, Hong Kong delegates to the Guangzhou Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference complained about power shortages, which they said could affect their confidence in long-term investment in Guangdong.

In response to the criticism, Guangzhou party secretary Lin Shusen has reassured foreign enterprises that their electricity demands would not be affected.

In addition, the provincial power authorities planned to build more energy plants to tackle the problem, the report said.

A record 19 billion yuan will be invested this year in 30 major power projects, increasing supply by at least 4.6 million kW.

In Guangzhou, the power capacity will increase 1.5 million kW in the next two to three years as the city builds more power projects.

In the first two months of this year, the maximum load capacity of Guangdong had reached 28.4 million kW - 17 per cent, or 4.2 million kW more than that of last year.

Power consumption for the year is forecast to reach 232.5 billion kWh, up 15 per cent on last year.

Guangdong has been one of the areas worst hit by the national power shortage since last year.

Last week, the Guangzhou Power Supply Company, a subsidiary of the provincial supply company, proposed turning off the city's decorative lighting to ease the shortages. Authorities also started rationing electricity in January, six months earlier than last year.


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