Plea to cut Guangzhou power use

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 July, 2006, 12:00am

The Guangzhou Power Supply Bureau has ordered consumers to cut electricity consumption in peak periods by up to 50 per cent after it was forced to switch off power supply to five districts for several hours in a bid to save its overloaded transmission grid from crashing.

The action affected thousands of residents and businesses and reflected the gravity of Guangzhou's power problems. The city has struggled with power shortages for more than two years and has tried to spare residents from blackouts by rationing supplies to industry.

The main business districts were not affected but supplies to Tianhe , Yuexiu, Liwan, Baiyun and Haizhu districts were cut from mid-morning on Thursday when the mercury hit 37 degrees Celsius and demand soared as people turned on their air conditioners to cool off.

The Guangzhou Power Supply Bureau said that all businesses, residents and factories would be affected equally if they were connected to the same transmission cable.

'The main reason for the cut is that it was too hot. At 10am it was already 37 degrees. The high temperature put pressure on the network. To ensure safety and to prevent the network from breaking down, we were forced to stop supply,' it said.

'If no urgent action is taken to expand and build new substations, the electricity supply problem will grow more critical.'

The construction of substations is being held back by the lack of space. There has also been opposition to their construction in residential areas by people fearing they could pose a health hazard.

The government has said it will invest 3.84 billion yuan to upgrade and expand the network this year. By the end of the 11th five-year plan, the transmission capacity will have doubled, with the completion of three new substations.