Southern China’s power crunch starts to ease - state planner

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Workers of grid operator China Southern Power Grid inspect power cables connecting transmission towers in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China May 29, 2018. Picture taken May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

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BEIJING, June 17 (Reuters) - An electricity crunch in China’s southern regions that started in mid-May has been easing, and the situation is expected to improve during the monsoon, a National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) spokesperson said on Thursday.

China's May electricity consumption jumped 12.5% year-on-year across the country, but some provinces in southern China, including manufacturing and exports hub Guangdong, saw power demand surging more than 25% from a year earlier.

Several cities in Guangdong and Yunnan had instructed users to curb power usage by suspending operations for hours or even days as high factory use combined with hot weather strained the region's power system. read more

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The NDRC had guided grid firms and provincial governments to adopt positive measures to ensure stable power system operations, including coordinating electricity transmission from other regions and increasing subsidies to coal- and gas-fired power plants to encourage electricity generation, NDRC spokesperson Meng Wei said.

Since June 5, Guangdong province stopped asking industrial users to curb electricity consumption during peak demand hours, Meng said.

"The situation of tight electricity supply in southern China has improved a lot in June ... With increasing power generation from hydropower during the flooding season, the power crunch is expected to further ease," Meng said.

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Reporting by Muyu Xu, Stella Qiu and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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