According to an official announcement from Liaoning province, China’s largest provincial economy in its northeast rustbelt is facing a worsening power shortage.
On Monday, October 11, the province issued its fifth power shortage alarm in two weeks, warning that the shortfall might reach roughly 5 gigawatts. Restriction of electricity use began at 6 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.
Liaoning has been experiencing significant power outages since mid-September. A level two power shortage alert was issued for the last three days of September when the daily power supply shortfall grew to 5.4 GW, Reuters reported.
Hundreds of thousands of families suffered power shortages and industrial units were forced to shut down.
Of the three provinces that make up China’s rust-belt industrial zone, Liaoning has the largest economy and consumes the most power.
As China grapples with an energy crisis that has seen coal and gas prices soar to unprecedented highs, shipments of Australian coal that had been stuck at Chinese ports for months have finally been unloaded.
Chinese officials have also ordered nearly 70 coal mines in Inner Mongolia to increase production by roughly 100 million tonnes—a 10% increase in production capacity—and prioritize coal delivery to power plants in northeastern provinces, including Liaoning.
However, about 60 coal mines in China’s largest coal-mining province, Shanxi, have been closed and several railway lines disrupted since Friday after heavy rain caused flooding. Shanxi authorities have not disclosed how much production capacity those closed mines represent.
With the upcoming winter months, the Chinese Communist Party’s measures to cut carbon emissions, COVID-19 regulations, and its unofficial embargo on Australian coal have all contributed to the situation, which has resulted in widespread blackouts that have harmed China’s economic engines.