"Energy Police" To Monitor Beijing's Power Use

Goal is to enforce summer energy savings

Beijing authorities have introduced "energy police" to enforce rules aimed at eliminating excessive power use, officials said June 11. A hotline has also been set up to encourage ordinary citizens to report breaches of power rules, officials with the newly formed "Beijing Energy Saving Police Brigade" said.

"Our main task is to help implement laws and rules, raise awareness on energy savings and provide information on new energy savings technology," an official surnamed Zhu said. The first task of the "energy police", who began work on June 10, will be to enforce new rules that set a summer temperature limit in public buildings of 26 degree Centigrade (79 degrees Fahrenheit), Zhu said.

However Zhu and other officials with the "energy saving" taskforce highlighted that the new inspectors worked for Beijing's economic planning commission, and not the police bureau. The officials were not able to say what punishments violators of energy efficiency rules would face.

The rule was issued nationwide by China's cabinet last week ahead of expected spikes in demand this summer and amid fears of prolonged power cuts. It is also part of a nationwide effort to increase energy efficiency, a campaign the government has promoted for economic and environmental reasons.

China set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20% by 2010, but failed in 2006, the first year of implementation. Energy consumption fell only 1.23% last year, less than one third of the annual goal of 4%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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