China's Henan to hike utility fees for polluting steel, cement firms

FILE PHOTO: A woman rides a scooter past a steel plant in Anyang, Henan province, China, February 18, 2019. Picture taken February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s central province of Henan will from Aug. 1 hike water and electricity fees for cement and steel producers that have failed to meet ultra-low emission standards, the provincial environment regulator said on Wednesday.

Henan, an industrial heartland which produced 105 million tonnes of cement and 33 million tonnes of crude steel in 2019, is home to six of China’s 20 most polluted cities, according to environment ministry data.

Firms that do not meet emissions treatment or clean transportation requirements can expect to pay 0.05 yuan-0.1 yuan (0.7-1.4 cents) per cubic meter more for their water and 0.01-0.06 yuan per kilowatt-hour more for their electricity, the Department of Ecology and Environment of Henan Province said.

They can apply to have the surcharge halted after upgrading to comply with ultra-low emission standards, it added.

($1 = 7.0172 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Min Zhang and Tom Daly; Editing by Himani Sarkar