The Commission says in a recent report that favourable weather conditions and power price hikes had helped to keep power shortages in check by reducing demand. However it wants power generators to increase purchases of coal and gas and to maximise generation from hydropower plants.

The report comes as a heat wave brought electricity shortages to eastern China, with power providers in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu announcing electricity rationing measures.

Power demand in Zhejiang province reached 50 GW in July – an 18.9 per cent increase over the same month last year, according to reports. The Shanghai government has approved a power rationing plan for 3000 non-industrial users.

In Shanghai, five days among the first 12 days of July were hotter than 37°C. On July 3, temperatures hit 38.3°C, the highest temperature of the year so far, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

In its report, the National Development and Reform Commission says it expects China’s power demand for air conditioning alone to grow by 12.5% year-on-year to 180GW during peak demand from late July to mid August. This is equivalent to around one-quarter of national peak power demand.

Electricity demand by the industrial sector is also expected to continue growing.