Agencies: Power outages slowed or closed factories across China in recent days, adding problems to the country’s slowing economy and to snarled global supply chains.
The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works. Municipalities have shut down pumping stations. Building managers have turned off elevators.
Compared with last year, electricity demand is growing this year in China at nearly twice its usual annual pace. The rise has been driven by swelling orders for the smartphones, appliances, exercise equipment and other manufactured goods that China’s factories churn out.
Context: Demand has greatly increased for China’s export factories, which use tons of electricity, particularly in the production of aluminum, steel and cement. The price of coal to generate that electricity has gone up. But regulators have kept utility rates low, and the utilities haven’t been able to cover their costs, causing them to reduce hours or shut down.