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Lanzhou Raises Heating Gas Price amid Inflation

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Municipal government in Lanzhou have approved local heating enterprise's bid to raise the price of heating services fueled by natural gas, a move that is out of sync with national regulations to curb rising inflation by controlling prices for daily necessities, the Beijing Times reported.

Officials in Lanzhou, capital city of northwest China's Gansu Province, announced the decision on Friday to increase the price of heating gas by 30 percent to 4.2 yuan from 3.3 yuan per cubic meter. But the price hike is only a small indication of a nation plagued by rising consumer prices.

The National Development and Reform Committee, China's top economic planner, issued nine consecutive notices between November 22 and 26 to rein in inflation.

Guangdong Province in southern China is just one of several provinces in the country that has decided not to increase the price of natural gas in line with state regulations.

But Lanzhou's decision is a far cry from that of Guangdong. The city's price adjustment will apply to gas consumption since November 1, and each household must pay extra heating fee of 500 yuan (US$75) each season.

Lanzhou officials said the price hike - the first since 2005 - was based on the increased heating supply costs. The NDRC is reportedly looking into the issue.

The municipal heating system is vitally important for people living in north China during the long winter between November and March the next year.

( December 12, 2010)

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