BEIJING Oct 21 (Reuters) - China's power shortfall in the coming winter and spring season will be less severe than during the summer, according to an official with the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC).
The maximum power shortage will be about 26 gigawatts (GW) during the winter and spring, compared with 30 GW deficit in the summer, when 17 provinces restricted power consumption or shifted demand from peak hours, Tan Rongyao, the SERC spokesman, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.
China had 966 GW of power generating capacity at the beginning of this year.
The shortage estimate was smaller than forecasts made by local grids or local governments and compiled by Reuters.
But Tan also said the winter shortage could be higher than expected if coal supplies were not guaranteed and the weather turned out to be colder than normal.
Coal prices will stay at their elevated levels and even climb higher for a period of time, exacerbating tightness in coal supplies in some regions, Tan was quoted as saying.
The key solution to power shortages is to push forward power price reform, raise grid feed-in power prices for coal-fired power plants in some regions and charge higher prices on energy-intensive users, Tan said.