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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

China 'hit by power crunch' amid drought

May 18, 2011

Chinese factories are facing curbs on electricity use as coal prices soar and a severe drought hits hydropower plants, state media have said, with possible major shortages ahead this summer.

The situation has highlighted the difficulties faced by China, the world's largest energy consumer, as global fuel prices climb and the country battles soaring inflation.

Businesses in coastal areas and some inland provinces have grappled with power cuts and full blackouts since March due to surging demand and a drop in hydroelectric output, the China Daily said.

The shortage -- the worst since 2004 -- is likely to get worse in the summer when demand peaks, with coastal Jiangsu, an export powerhouse neighbouring Shanghai, the hardest hit, it said.

Power supplies could be as much as 16 percent lower than the province needs, it said.

The drought plaguing central China for months has left more than one million people without proper drinking water and crimped output of hydroelectric power, China's second-biggest energy source, previous media reports said.
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