Some parts of China will experience severe blackouts this summer as a result of an electricity shortage of 30 to 40 million kilowatts, according to an industry report published Monday.
Although power consumption is predicted to slow this year, growth momentum has remained steady and supplies are tight, according to a quarterly report released by the China Electricity Council (CEC).
China's more developed eastern and southern regions will bear the brunt of the shortages, followed by North and Central China, while northeastern and northwestern regions are expected to see an electricity surplus, the report said.
China has suffered seasonal power shortages in recent decades due to steadily climbing electricity use, breakneck economic growth and an unwillingness on the part of coal-fired plants to produce more energy amid rising costs and decreased prices.
Coal prices had fallen for nearly four months until the end of February. With temperatures climbing and industrial production resuming, the CEC predicted coal prices will rebound.
With tight domestic supply, China's coal imports will also be constrained by inadequate railway cargo services. The picture will become grimmer during summer peak days and the dry season, the CEC said.
Domestic hydropower plants have resumed operation as of February, although water-rich South China has still reported low water levels, boding ill for future power supplies, the CEC warned.