BEIJING, May 30 (Reuters) - China Southern Power Grid Co Ltd reported record power demand this month, the government said on Wednesday, the latest sign that China’s power market is already under pressure as weather forecasters predict a hotter-than-usual summer.
The state power company has increased its load to a record of 164 gigawatts this month, up 0.9 percent from the previous peak load and an increase of 25.5 percent year-on-year, the National Development & Reform Commission said in a statement.
It is the first time the peak load has reached a new high before the official start of the Northern Hemisphere summer on June 21, when power demand surges as a result of air conditioner use.
China Southern Power is one of two state-owned power transmission firms covering five provinces in the south, including Yunnan, Hainan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Guizhou, with the rest of the country covered by the State Grid Corp.
An unusually warm spring and forecasts of a hotter-than-usual summer are expected to boost electricity demand as households turn up their air-conditioning units or fans to keep cool.
Coal prices have soared as investors have bet on potential supply tightness due to strong demand from the nation’s coal-fired power stations.
Coal accounts for the majority of China’s power generation.
Some 60 percent of households in China have air conditioning, according to the International Energy Agency, which warned in a report published earlier this month that the rising use of cooling systems is the “most critical blind spot” in the energy debate.
Reporting by Josephine Mason; additional reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Christian Schmollinger