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China warns of more power cuts

China suffered shortages in the summer, as temperatures soared and air conditioning units used up energy.

While cooler weather has temporarily helped, the need for heating and maintenance will soon mean facilities cannot meet demand, officials said.

China's current power generation capacity is struggling to keep up with the country's rapid economic growth.

Cheng Guangjie, vice president of the East China Power Grid, said the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian, and the city of Shanghai, are all likely to be hit by power shortages in the coming months.

"The gap between supply and demand will reach as much as 17m kilowatts in the winter," Mr Cheng was quoted as saying by the state-run China Daily.

The paper commented that China currently produces one-thirteenth the amount of electricity per head that the US generates, and one-eighth the amount per person of Japan.

It said that last year, 23 of China's 31 provinces and major cities had to ration power, up from 12 regions in 2002.

Construction of new power plants are expected to help resolve shortages by 2006.

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