Front Page of the Day
Posted by Eric Mu on Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 4:08 PM
China's Shandong Province is struggling with an electricity crunch which is the "worst in a decade". Since June, electricity rationing has been introduced in the province; electricity for households is limited to designated hours, and factories only have electricity four days a week.
So far no official explanation has been given for the power shortages. Many people believe soaring coal prices are to blame while others find the Olympic Games a convenient target at which they can vent their grievance: there many rumors at the moment blaming the central government for cutting down on Shandong's electricity ration to ensure the power supply in Beijing.
Today's Yantai Evening News, a local newspaper based in Yantai, Shandong Province, ran a top headline "electricity will be limited to factories during the Olympic Games" followed by a subhead "Neon lights and advertisement lights will be turned off". According to the newspaper, from August 8 to August 25, all big power consumers including steel plants, mines (except for coal mines), cement mills and chemical factories will suspend production; half of all street lamps will be turned off; air con thermostats in shopping mall, hotels, offices will be kept above 26 °C.
A vice president of Yantai Electricity Supply Company said in the article that "industrial use of electricity will be cut down further to make sure that people will be able to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at home."
The article also quoted an expert named Xia Zhongmin, who suggests that appliances should be unplugged when not being used because, according to him, a TV set or a computer in sleep mode uses just as much electricity as when they are active. To prove the point, the expert cited the result of a joint research conducted by University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory according to which 10% of electricity has been wasted in the "standby equipment" in the US.
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