Why the lights are going out in China – by ZHAO XUAN, YUAN RUIYANG, CHEN XUEWAN, BAI YUJIE, LUO GUOPING and HAN WEI (Nikkei Asia – December 29, 2020)


As China’s economy picks up steam following the pandemic, there’s been an unexpected consequence: power shortages that forced several cities to restrict electricity use by factories, offices and even streetlights.

As night fell Dec. 14 in Yiwu, the city in eastern China’s Zhejiang province that’s known as the world’s largest small-commodity trading hub, pedestrians were plunged into darkness as streetlights didn’t turn on as usual in some areas. Streets in Yiwu remained dark the next two nights under a government decision to “reduce power consumption and pollution.”

“This is the first time in many years the streetlights were shut down for that reason,” one resident said. Lighting of several landmark structures in Changsha, capital of southern China’s Hunan Province, was also turned off this month.

“The outdoor billboard lights were shut due to government orders for power control,” said one staffer of a shopping mall in downtown Changsha.

Yiwu and Changsha are among a number of Chinese cities that imposed power rationing in December as a surge of demand from industrial production and wintertime heating worsened a supply shortage.

For the rest of this article: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Caixin/Why-the-lights-are-going-out-in-China