From: Elaine Kurtenback, Associated Press
Published May 10, 2005 12:00 AM

Shanghai Mulls Factory Shutdowns, Curbs on Air Conditioner Use to Battle Power Shortages

SHANGHAI — Shanghai residents may have to sweat out part of the summer if authorities curb the use of air conditioners in offices and entertainment venues in efforts to prevent the collapse of the city's overworked power grid, a report said Monday.


Air conditioners account for a large share of electricity demand, which is expected to outstrip supply by 3.3 million kilowatts during peak summer months, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily reported, citing Shanghai Economic Commission officials.


The report said power shortages could force hundreds of factories to suspend production or to shift work to nighttime hours when demand is lower.


Some 1,500 companies already have been listed for possible daytime shutdowns but more will be added as authorities assess power use heading into the hot summer months, it said.


Without such measures, the overburdened power supply grid could collapse, the report said.


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Massive waste worsens China's severe energy shortages. Though Shanghai has ordered cutbacks, in many cities winter heating systems consume and waste extravagant amounts of energy. Lavish landscape lighting adds to the problem.


About 35 percent to 40 percent of electricity is lost between the time it is generated and when it reaches the end users, said Khalid Malik, the U.N. Development Program's representative in China, who was visiting Shanghai for a conference Monday on energy-efficient lighting.


China has launched a 10-year program to help increase efficiency and reduce severe pollution, especially from the country's coal-burning power plants that provide about two-thirds of its energy.


"This program is really meant to do something to improve efficiency," Malik said. "There has to ba a huge squeezing of inefficiencies."


Humid Shanghai swelters in the summer.


The city of more than 20 million was expected to have up to 20 days when the temperature exceeds 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) this summer, the report said.


With peak demand for electricity forecast to surge to 19 million kilowatts, up by 1.8 million kilowatts from last summer, office buildings, supermarkets and big department stores would be encouraged to run air conditioning systems at night and turn them off during hot afternoons, the report said.


All buildings will have air conditioners set at no lower than 26 Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) -- same as last summer.


Outdoor lighting may also be dimmed, as it was last year, to help reduce demand.


Source: Associated Press


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