Sun, Jun 25, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Shanghai officials urge measures to prevent blackouts

BLOOMBERG

Shanghai factories were urged by city authorities to stagger working hours and rest days as the government seeks to avoid summer blackouts similar to those that forced companies to cut production two years ago.

From July 1 to Aug. 31, some factories will have to operate at night to reduce power consumption during peak hours, the Shanghai government said in a statement on Friday on its Web site. Some factories will be asked to stagger rest days through Sept. 23, while some companies must give employees some time off from July 10 to Aug. 28, the statement said.

The government also plans to adjust electricity rates based on whether power is used during peak or off-peak periods. Peak power demand in Shanghai reached a high of 16.9 million kilowatts on Thursday, the statement said.

China is experiencing a fourth straight year of power shortages because economic growth has pushed demand for power beyond generating capacity. The country had a shortfall of 25,000 megawatts when usage peaked last summer. The deficit may be less than 10,000 megawatts this year, the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planner, said in March.

Shanghai, China's biggest commercial city, may face a peak power demand of 20.5 million kilowatts this summer, 1.5 million kilowatts higher than a year earlier, the city government said in February.

Other measures include halting outdoor construction when temperatures rise above 35?C, the statement said.

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