BEIJING, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Local authorities in China should not use a one-size-fits-all approach to implement the country’s ambitious push to heat millions of homes with gas this winter, the official English language paper China Daily said in an editorial on Tuesday.
The comment comes after two major consuming provinces Hebei and Shandong cut gas supplies to factories last week in a dramatic step to ensure homes stay warm, just two weeks after China launched its bold experiment to switch the north to the cleaner fuel.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices in China, one of Asia’s largest users of the fuel, have soared to record highs as residential and industrial demand in the north has jumped after the government forced homes and factories to switch from coal as part of its war on smog that blankets the area in the winter.
There have been reports that insufficient gas supplies have left some residents without any heating, the paper said.
“Any measures to run after a ‘blue sky’, including the ‘gas-replacing-coal’ campaign some local governments have launched, should fully consider residents’ needs and be tailored to local conditions,” said the editorial.
“They should not be advanced using a one-size-fits-all approach.”
The comments highlight concern in central government about the unintended consequences of its push to switch the north to gas heating without installing sufficient infrastructure and ensuring domestic supplies to meet the ramp-up in demand.
“Enterprises and the local economy are not alone in suffering from the shortage, as some households whose previous coal-fueled heating facilities were changed to gas-fueled ones are also feeling the effects of the supply shortage,” the paper said.
The local authorities have “good intentions” by implementing the central government’s policy, but it should not be at the cost of some people’s well-being and at the risk of their health, it said. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Kim Coghill)