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>> With a gas crisis leaving millions of Chinese freezing this winter, now comes the government blame game. In a bid to cut seasonal smog, Beijing rolled out a national switch to ditch coal for natural gas. But prices are soaring, families have no heat and factories are shut. Officials from top to bottom told Reuters, miscommunication led to a shortage and they are all pointing fingers at each other and the gas companies.
Reuters' Ming Ming is following the drama.>> Government officials, they think the big producers including Sinopec, PetroChina, and
] should be held accountable for the gas prices for this year, partially because they're not prepared, in terms of they didn't build enough facilities to meet the surge in demand.
On the other side, the big producers, they think the government does not have good communication with producers. It turns out that, in January to November, the gas consumption already growth almost 20%, that's like three times as high as the forecast from CMPC people.>> The other problem at play, over enthusiastic local officials taking things too far.
This year, many of them added more gas boilers than Beijing asked for, leading to a shortage when they flipped the switch.>> When the central government issue instruction, for example, they set a target for the gas project, it's often taken as a minimum target by provincial officials. The problem with village level officials really being like they're so afraid of loosing jobs, they often overdone their works.
It's almost like selling cars. When the dealership gives their salesperson a target, they often need to exceed the target to get a bonus.>> In light of the grim situation, the environmental ministry has reversed its course by temporarily allowing residents to burn coal as China enters its coldest weeks of the year.