An increase in demand, a rise in coal prices and cuts imposed by the provinces to meet environmental objectives are at the root of the problem
It is not the first time that supply problems force electricity to be rationed in some way in some part of China, although the normal thing is to cut the flow to the industries. What is much less frequent is that the cuts reach the consumer. Or that they spread over such a vast territory.
“In my grandparents’ village the temperature is already below zero, and they have notified that the ignition of the radiators will be delayed, it is not known how long. With power outages, other types of heating cannot be used either. My grandfather is 70 years old, they just had surgery, how do you expect these older people to survive without heating? In the northeast the winter is very long and very cold, with the blackouts the temperatures of -30 degrees are going to be very difficult ”, denounced a user on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter.
In Canton, in the south, entrepreneurs are hastily purchasing generators to keep their factories running. In central Hunan, billboard lights go out at peak times. Over the last month, and especially in the last two weeks, up to 21 provinces of the 31 in mainland China have been forced to adopt some type of electricity rationing measure to their industries or consumers, amid fears for the wave of unprecedented blackouts to have a serious impact on the world’s second largest economy at times of uncertainty about its real estate sector.
The reason, a triple combination that makes China face problems with its electricity, as is happening in Spain and other European countries. But, while in Spain the problem is reflected in the huge increase in the electricity bill, in China it has repercussions in blackouts.
On the one hand, China has seen a strong increase in electricity demand, fueled by an industrial and manufacturing sector at full throttle to meet orders both domestically and abroad, following the recovery after the coronavirus pandemic . In the first eight months of 2021, industrial value-added production grew by 13.1% year-on-year, and electricity demand rose by 13.8%. But coal production only increased 4.4%.