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BEIJING, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Northern China's Hebei province has ordered local governments to maintain normal power supplies for residential users after one of its counties cut electricity to households and other public facilities in a bid to meet energy-saving goals, local media reported.
Traffic lights had been turned off and power to hospitals, schools and residents was disrupted this month in Anping county, as the local government scrambled to reduce power consumption to meet this year's energy efficiency goals. [ID:nTOE68502L]
The National Development and Reform Commission said cutting household power did not conform with central government policy and supplies should be restored.
The provincial office for energy-saving and pollution reduction ordered further power supply cuts for energy-intensive and major polluting companies, the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported.
Electricity to illegal energy-intensive and high-polluting projects built since September 2009 would be cut without exceptions, and power to outdated production capacity set for closure this year but still in operation until the end of September would also be stopped, the newspaper said.
China has pledged to cut energy intensity -- the amount of fuel used to generate each unit of gross domestic product -- by 20 percent within five years from the 2005 level, but the indicator rose 0.09 percent on the year in the first half of 2010 after falling a total of 15.61 percent for the past four years.
The central government has rush out further measures, including shutting down outdated production capacity, raising power tariffs for energy-intensive companies and issuing administrative orders to regions and industries.
Some steel mills in Guangxi, Guangdong, Hebei, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces have cut production following power use curbs. An industry official estimated China's crude steel output would decline by nearly 7 million tonnes in September, Chinese media have reported.
Nickel pig iron output, an alternative to refined nickel used to produce stainless steel, was also set to drop on power restrictions, prompting a pickup in demand for refined nickel, traders have said. [ID:nTOE68106W] (Reporting by Jim Bai and Aizhu Chen; Editing by Chris Lewis)