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Wuhan Suspends Gas Supply to Companies Amid Heavy Snow

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Central China city Wuhan cut off natural gas supply to another 20 companies on Tuesday due to increasing energy demand amid heavy snow, adding the number of affected firms to 76.

The government of Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, suspended natural gas supply to 56 companies and 26 taxi gas stations on Monday in an effort to ensure stable supply to local residents.

Heavy snow has blanketed the city since Sunday, pushing down the temperature to the lowest minus 10 degrees Celsius and driving up energy consumption.

The measure has helped mend the deficit of some 680,000 cubic meters of natural gas in supply, but still leaving a gap of 40,000cubic meters in daily demand, said Xu Jin, director with the energy resources department of Wuhan's National Development and Reform Commission.

Wuhan consumes about 1.5 million cubic meters of natural gas a day recently, said Xing Yaolin, manager with the city's Natural Gas Co. Ltd.

The government also decided to pay 100 yuan (about US$14.6) daily subsidy to some 8,300 cab drivers, who have to turn to gasoline due to the gas shortage.

It's still unknown when the suspension of gas supply will come to an end, said Xu.

The snowstorm has been the strongest in the city over the past 40 years and it is expected to abate after Thursday, according to the Wuhan Meteorological Station.

(Xinhua News Agency November 17, 2009)

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