Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Power plants face new coal shortfall

The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) said 32 power plants have been shut down due to lack of coal AP reported. Coal supplies have dwindled to less than a three-day supply in some areas of the country. The recommended minimum for energy stockpiles is 15 days, with a seven-day supply considered dangerously low. The SERC has not indicated how Beijing might respond to the new shortages. The effect of last week's earthquake in Sichuan on energy supplies was not addressed in the SERC report, but the National Development and Reform Commission has said 200 coal mines in the province had been closed for inspection after the disaster. Utility companies are keeping smaller coal stockpiles after the government froze power prices last year. Coal shortages also hit power plants in February, when unusually heavy winter storms prevented coal from being transported to the plants.

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