April 22, 2024


Unlimited Technology

China’s short-term solution to curbing energy use: cut the lights

Shenyang, China

People ate breakfast by the light of smartphones and shopkeepers turned on generators as cities across China enforced power cuts Wednesday to meet official conservation targets and ease shortages in some areas.

News reports blame high coal prices they say make power companies reluctant to meet booming demand, while economists say the real motive is political: Officials are under pressure to curtail energy use to meet official targets.

In Shenyang, the northeast’s most populous city, restaurant owner Li Yufeng used a battery from an electric bicycle to run a pot for noodles after seeing a notice power would be switched off at 7:30 a.m. Mr. Li said he started work two hours early, at 6 a.m., to prepare chicken, sauces, and other dishes.

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