Oil Report

More China provinces plan power rationing -report

BEIJING, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A rising number of Chinese provinces are preparing to introduce power rationing as electricity supplies lag behind demand amid harsh winter weather, local media reported on Friday, citing Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Power rationing in six provinces totalled 13.9 gigawatts (GW) as of Dec. 12, the China Business News reported, citing data from the commission.

The recent power shortages were most prominent in central China and power supplies would remain tight in the region as well as some provinces in northern China in the first quarter, the report said, citing forecasts from State Grid Corp of China, China’s leading grid operator.

Coal stocks at major coal-fired power plants, which generate about 80 percent of China’s power output, have been at 17-month lows in recent days as harsh weather, strained transportation, insufficient coal production and rising coal prices curbed stockpiling at power plants.

In addition to calls to coal and gas producers to ramp up production and shipments, Beijing was also encouraging increased coal and natural gas imports to counter power shortages across the country, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.[ID:nSGE60E026]

For a table of China’s spreading power shortages please click: [ID:nTOE60E01X] (Reporting by Jim Bai and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Chris Lewis)