Cold snap hits over 800 Shanghai firms
SHANGHAI: China’s commercial stronghold of Shanghai has forced more than 800 companies to shift production to graveyard shifts after an unseasonal cold snap and snow left the power grid groaning under surging demand, state media said.
About 9,000 companies had been told to shift production hours so far this winter, the Shanghai Daily said on Saturday, and the city has had to import electricity from neighbouring provinces as temperatures drop below freezing.
State newspapers said last month that the affected businesses — including some foreign joint ventures — would make up for the output loss by working weekends, and that the mandatory schedules would remain in place until March 4. They said at the time over 8,000 companies would be affected.
Brownouts engulfed more than two-thirds of China’s provinces last summer during a heat wave, triggering the nation’s worst energy crunch in two decades. About 7,000 businesses in Shanghai shifted output to non-peak hours or sent workers on holiday, as officials struggled to plug a power shortfall of about 4,000 megawatts.
That affected the operations of the likes of automakers Volkswagen AG and General Motors Corp., both of which have major manufacturing operations in Shanghai. Now demand for heat is taxing the grid again.
A snow storm in Shanghai on Thursday closed the city’s two airports, several bridges and highways and injured dozens of people in car accidents, witnesses and newspapers said. It was the first major snowfall in the city for a decade, but the mercury is forecast to rise slightly from Sunday, the Shanghai Morning Post said. Power demand in Shanghai alone is expected to rise by nearly 20 percent year-on-year this winter to 14,200 megawatts. —Reuters