by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 30, 2011
China has increased the cost of electricity for industrial use in some regions, state media reported Monday, as the country struggles with power shortages led by soaring demand and a severe drought.
Power prices for plants have been raised by 20 yuan ($3.10 dollars) per 1,000 kilowatt-hours, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body.
The report did not say which regions would be affected, or what the new prices would be.
The price of electricity for residential use remains unchanged, according to the report.
Businesses in coastal areas and some inland provinces have grappled with power cuts and full blackouts since March due to surging demand and a drop in hydroelectric output, Chinese media reported previously.
The drought plaguing central China for months has left millions of people without proper drinking water and crimped output of hydroelectric power, China's second-biggest energy source after coal, they said.
The government in April raised prices utility companies pay for electricity in 16 provinces in a bid to boost the flagging bottom lines of power producers as coal costs spiked, according to earlier state media reports.
Although authorities have so far kept residential power prices unchanged, concerns are on the rise that the hikes may eventually spill over to hurt consumers, fuelling the country's already high inflation.
China's consumer price index, which is a key gauge of inflation, rose 5.3 percent year on year in April -- slightly down from a 32-month high of 5.4 percent in March but well above Beijing's four percent target for 2011.
The government, ever wary of surging inflation's potential to trigger social unrest, has taken a series of measures to rein in soaring prices, including a ban on diesel exports to keep fuel costs in check.
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Carbon emissions at highest levels ever: report
London (AFP) May 30, 2011
Carbon emissions are at their highest ever levels, stoking fears of a global temperature rise over the "dangerous" two degrees Celsius threshold, data seen by the Guardian newspaper showed Monday. Unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency revealed that the world economy's return to growth in 2010 coincided with a 1.6 gigatonne rise in carbon dioxide emissions, the highest ev ... read more
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