State Grid Corp of China, which runs the majority of China's electricity distribution networks, expected power consumption in its grid-covered areas to soar about 20% in the first quarter this year.
The estimation is based on a swift economic recovery in the first quarter. The company's official media outlet State Grid News reported China's GDP is expected to increase 14.8% in the first quarter due to largely steady order of production and living under strict control of the epidemic.
Factors like the colder-than-usual temperatures and lower base of the first quarter in 2020 are also at play.
In 2020, power consumption in State Grid-covered regions totaled 5,833.7 TWh, a 2.5% rise on the year, accounting for 77.67% of China's total. Consumption in the first quarter of 2020 declined 7.4% due to the impact of COVID-19 epidemic, but the growth turned positive to 3.3%, 4.9% and 8.7% in the second, third and fourth quarters, respectively.
Power consumption reached 575.4 TWh in December, with the year-on-year rise hitting a record high of 9.6% for the year, expanding 4.5 percentage points compared with the growth of December 2019, due to a series of cold snaps and a steady rebound in industrial activity.
State Grid supplies power to over 1.1 billion people in 26 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, covering 88% of the national territory.
China Southern Power Grid, which runs power grids in five southern provinces – Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan, saw power consumption in the five provinces last year at 1,305.6 TWh, a 5% rise on the year.
Its maximum power grid load hit a record high of 199.8 GW last year, a 7% rise compared with the record in 2019. Due to a surge demand in winter, the record has been refreshed seven times last year.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Emma Yang)
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