A wave of power cuts in some coastal provinces including Hebei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanxi Province, as a result of the central government’s action to lower the growth in electricity consumption to meet the target of the 11th Five-Year Plan, has caused a number of steel producers to temporarily lower or stop production.

According to the plan, energy consumption shall fall 20% in the 2006-2010 period. Energy consumption fell 15.61% in 2006-2009, but rose by 0.09% in H1 2010, which means the rate must fall 5.29% in H2 to meet the target.

Ningbo Steel, for example, had to shut one of its two 2500m3 blast furnaces for about three months.

In Hebei Province, China’s largest steel producing province, many mills in Wu’an Prefecture reported that they had to shut blast furnaces, converters and rolling mills for 20 to 30 days. And many mills in Tangshan Prefecture said they expected to be required to make around a 30% power cut.

Source: China Metals e-mail chinametal@xinhua.org