GUANGDONG'S plans to raise residential electricity prices were confronted with numerous questions at a public hearing in Guangzhou yesterday.
Most of the hearing's 29 participants from across the province-including 13 consumer representatives -bombarded the plans with questions. The plans will charge more for heavier usage in a bid to encourage energy conservation.
Under the reform announced by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), household electricity prices will be set in three tiers based on usage. Prices will be raised by 0.05 yuan (US$0.008) per kilowatt hour for the second tier and 0.30 yuan for the third tier, but the price for the first tier remains unchanged. Cities can decide on power usage thresholds for each tier.
The NDRC has required that the reform be implemented nationwide June 1.
Guangdong, which has a longer summer than most areas of the country, has tailored two plans, one to charge based on monthly usage and another to charge more in summer and less in other seasons. The first plan's power threshold for the first tier is 210 kwh per month. In the second plan, the threshold is 240 kwh for summer and 170 kwh for other seasons.
Shenzhen resident Mei Xianling said at the hearing that the thresholds of both plans are too low for Shenzhen residents. Opting for the second plan, she said the threshold would be reasonable if raised to 300 kwh.
"Shenzhen's summer is long and hot. Most families use no less than that amount each month," she said. "If the threshold is too low, I think 80 percent of residents would have to pay higher costs."
South China Normal University Professor Wu Jingsong said it's absurd that Guangdong's electricity price remains the highest in China.
Electricity in Beijing costs 0.48 yuan per kwh, while the average price Guangdong Province is the highest at up to 0.638 yuan per kwh. Shenzhen charges 0.68 yuan per kwh.