Beijing will spend 2.2 billion yuan (US$322 million) to cover heating expenses for people this winter, an official said on Thursday.
People will not have to pay more for heating than what they paid last year despite surging coal and fuel prices. However, not everyone is included in the subsidy. Business and government offices will have to spend more this winter, said Lu Haijun, head of the Beijing Municipal Administration Commission.
Beijingers paid 24 yuan for heat per square meter last year. There's no word on how much more businesses will have to pay this year.
Beijing has prepared 1.9 million tons of coal to be used for heat this winter. Another 700,000 tons is on reserve.
The city provided heat to 576 million square meters last year. There are 17,000 kilometers of heating pipes in Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2008)