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Energy Shortages Feared in China

Several Chinese regions are facing power shortages as severely cold weather continues, increasing energy consumption.

Chinese news media said Thursday that inland regions, including Hubei, Jiangsu, jiangxi, Hebei, Hunan, Chongqing and Shanghai municipality experienced power cuts.

The official Xinhua news agency says some 350 power plants across the country reported dwindling coal reserves, with some plants saying they have sufficient supplies for just three days.

Authorities in several provinces have ordered rationing the industrial use of energy.

Harsh weather conditions, including heavy snow falls in the past week, have made transportation difficult and led to rising coal and food prices.

Officials sought to reassure the public that China is not facing a crisis and that the cold spell would end in a week.

A cold front moved across eastern and central China this week, bringing heavy snow in the north and rare snowfalls in the south.

Temperatures in Beijing fell to minus 16.7 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, the lowest in the capital in nearly 40 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.