Guangdong energy crisis forces sacrifice
Guangdong will order about 10 types of energy-consuming industries to disconnect from the power grid to overcome the province's worst electricity crisis in 30 years, a senior government official says.
Guangdong Development and Reform Commission deputy director Li Miaojuan warned that smaller steel mills, electroplating factories and dyeing plants would have to stop production to cut power consumption after the snowstorm disaster added to power shortages in the manufacturing hub.
The move, which follows existing power rationing across the region, is expected to darken the prospects of tens of thousands Hong Kong manufacturers across the border, as well as the skies over the Pearl River Delta, because they will be forced to generate their own electricity by using more costly and dirty diesel-fired generators.
'Ten energy-consuming industries must stop production completely, when necessary, as the snowstorm has aggravated the shortage problem,' Ms Li said yesterday during the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference meeting. 'The problem will get worse in the summer peak season.'
Without revealing exactly when the power suspensions would take place, Ms Li said manufacturers would be informed 'a day' in advance.
She added existing rationing and energy-saving initiatives targeting manufacturers would continue for some time because residential needs were a priority.
Factories in manufacturing hubs such as Dongguan and Longgang have to suspend operations for two to three days a week due to power rationing.
She did not think the new measure would kill off Hong Kong factory owners, which were mainly engaged in producing and processing consumer goods. More than 10,000 factories in the Pearl River Delta have folded in the past few months as a combined result of higher production costs, wages, power shortages, a stronger yuan and new labour and tax laws.
The tragic snowstorms in southern China downed power transmission grids and caused the province's power shortage to worsen to about 10 million kW this year compared with the original estimate of about 6 million kW, she said.
Anticipating a power shortage of about 6 million kW in each of the next three years, Ms Li said the central government had agreed to speed up approval on new power projects.
New projects involving nuclear and renewable sources would be given priority, she said.
'We have negotiated with state power producers and grid companies that once the downed infrastructure is fixed between Hunan and the Three Gorges, the supply to Guangdong will resume,' Ms Li said.
However, some analysts said the electricity crisis would linger for a while because of the severe destruction of power grids in southern and western parts of the country.