'Imperial envoys' embark on power trip
Monitoring of supply, safety and fees will be handled by six area offices
Officials from the state power regulator will be sent to head six regional offices overseeing electricity supply, in an effort to step up control over power distribution and management.
In an announcement on its website, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission said its officials would head offices of the northern, eastern, central, southern, northeastern and northwestern regions.
The commission agreed on a regional structure last year with the aim of promoting fair competition and strengthening monitoring of the electricity market.
The regional offices will also supervise the safety and reliability of electricity supply, the issuing of operating certificates for electricity enterprises, announcements of market information and investigation of any violations by power companies.
The website did not say when the offices would be set up or name those who would be in charge.
Yang Fuqiang , chief representative and vice-president of the US-based Energy Foundation's Beijing office, welcomed the move.
The state government could not monitor everything that was going on in the country from Beijing, he said. The move was akin to sending imperial envoys to the regions to enhance supervision, he said.
He said regional differences in electricity fees, environmental protection policies, investments and electricity demand had made central supervision difficult. But the new regional offices would tackle these inadequacies and improve co-ordination.
The offices will also help solve the mainland's power shortage by allowing for the establishment of large-scale power companies which are more cost-effective.
'The setting up of the offices will not completely solve the power shortage, but it's one of the measures to help solve it,' Mr Yang said, adding that macroeconomic measures and energy conservation would also help.
He said the offices would also help establish the national power grid over the next two decades.
'Talks between provinces over this will be too difficult as there are many conflicts of interests. But the regional offices can make up [for] the differences because they are under one commission,' he said.
The northern office will be based in Beijing, the northeastern office in Shenyang , the northwestern in Xian , the eastern office in Shanghai,the central office in Wuhan and the southern office in Guangzhou.
Electricity monitoring in Tibet would be assigned separately, the announcement said.