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Regulator allays fears over energy security

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Via China Daily

Workers check power transmission lines in Mingguang, Anhui province. [Photo by Song Weixing/For China Daily]

China has full confidence in ensuring adequate energy supply, normal industrial operations and in maintaining social and economic stability despite the novel coronavirus outbreak, the country’s top economic regulator said on Sunday.

“Coal, electricity, oil and natural gas supplies are abundant and sufficient to cater to demand,” Tang Shemin, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference.

According to Tang, production has resumed at most of the Chinese coal and oil refining companies, while many electricity and oil and gas producers have maintained continuous operations. Additionally, railway transport enterprises have given first priority to the supply of key raw materials such as coal.

“With the orderly resumption of work across the nation, we will see a growing demand for coal, electricity, oil and gas in the future,” Tang said.

“In the next step, we will continue to closely monitor the changes in energy supply and demand and take measures accordingly to ensure coordination in the production, transport, and sale, and resolve any issues companies may face in the process.”

Lu Junling, head of the coal department at the National Energy Administration, said the agency has urged coal enterprises to step up production and increase supplies, and a series of measures have been taken to ensure the same.

“We have urged power companies to take precautionary measures and resolve issues that companies are facing such as surging demand for energy,” Lu said. “Particularly, we are working hard to ensure the electricity supplies for newly built Huoshenshan Hospital, Leishenshan Hospital and Fang Cang makeshift hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.”

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More efforts will be made to offer a better warning system, guarantee the supply of various types of energy, establish better systems for the production, supply, storage and sale of natural gas, the NEA said.

In fact, China has made considerable progress in speeding up coal production and resumption of work. China’s coal enterprises controlled by the central government have resumed work and their production capability had been restored to 95 percent of the normal level.

“The adverse impact of the epidemic on coal production has been largely eliminated, and the production capability has been restored to the same level of previous year,” Lu said.

Except for Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, the rest of the coal producers have resumed production. More than 90 percent of coal producers in the six areas including Anhui and Hebei provinces have restored production, NEA data showed.

On Saturday, the NDRC issued a notice to promote the reduction of business-related charges for power and natural gas, as part of its wider drive to support enterprises to resume work and contain the outbreak.

The country will lower enterprises’ electricity price by 5 percent from Feb 1 to June 30, excluding energy-intensive industries, according to the notice. A price-reduction policy released earlier will also last until June 30, it said.

It is estimated that the price-reduction policy would benefit about 50 million users and reduce the companies’ power utilization costs by 59 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) during that period.

State Grid Corp of China has actively answered the call to lower the power unitization costs, by rolling out eight measures to reduce costs for companies by 48.9 billion yuan during the same period.

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