For months, factories in the city of Yiwu, known as China’s “Christmas town,” have been cranking out most of the tinsel, decorations and other festive ornaments now hanging on trees worldwide.
But production almost stopped in mid-December, as local authorities switched off the lights.
Ma Hairu, who works for a manufacturer making paper decorations for Christmas and New Year, said his factory was struggling to meet demand because they’re only allowed to work half days. “We have a lot of orders, but we don’t have enough time to make them,” he said.
Officials in China’s Zhejiang province are racing to meet five-year energy consumption targets set by the central government that are due to expire on December 31. Earlier this month, a local directive instructed businesses to stop elevators below the third floor, and to only use heating when temperatures outside fell below 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit).
“There is no shortage of electricity supply [in Zhejiang]. Some places in the province adopted measures themselves to restrict electricity use to save energy and reduce emissions,” Zhao Chenxin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said Monday.