November 2, 2017 / 11:42 AM / a year ago

North China cuts non-peak household power prices to help fuel switch

BEIJING (Reuters) - Northern Chinese provinces are cutting power prices to homes during non-peak periods of usage by industry this winter to help support the nation’s plans to switch to electricity and gas-powered heating from coal-fired heating systems.

FILE PHOTO: An abandoned coal-powered boiler is pictured beside a road in Xiaozhangwan village of Tongzhou district, on the outskirts of Beijing, China June 28, 2017. Picture taken June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

It follows calls by the central government for different prices for peak and low-use hours in winter to reduce the cost of using electric heating equipment in homes.

China has been striving to cut the burning of coal and increase the use clean fuel to improve air quality. This winter, it aims to replace coal-fueled household heating with gas or electricity in millions of residences.

One obstacle in the way of the switch is the higher cost of electric heating equipment relative to coal-fired heating. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planner, in September called on local authorities to make electricity more price-competitive with coal.

Ningxia province said it would reduce residential power prices by 0.2 yuan ($0.0303) per kilowatt hour (kWh) during low-use hours, and raise them by 0.05 yuan per kWh during peak hours, a report by state-owned Ningxia Daily said on Thursday.

Low hours would run from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. (1400-0000 GMT) when power use from the industrial and commercial sector normally wanes, and residential household demand picks up.

Last week, Shaanxi province issued a similar power price policy, which is in force from Nov. 1 to March 31.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue

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