China's National Energy Administration said it will urge power grid companies to optimize operating procedures and improve the inter-provincial resource allocation capabilities to ensure smooth power supply during the winter. Responding to the recent power shortages in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, the regulator said it will strengthen operation and maintenance work on power transmission and transformation equipment, tap the power transmission potential of provincial and regional tie lines, strengthen coal supply and give full play to the role of large power grid platforms. The measures are in response to the recent power shortage in Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces. The National Development and Reform Commission said the cold weather and increased industrial production have caused demand to outstrip supply in several areas. However, current power supply remains stable and residential power consumption remains unaffected, it said. The commission said it will urge power companies to further step up power generation capacity, optimize operations and diversify thermal coal supply. It will also closely follow the power supply and demand situation and coordinate all localities and relevant departments to ensure adequate power supply. Experts said the recent power usage restrictions were largely due the cold weather when millions of people switched on energy-intensive heating equipment to cope with subzero temperatures. Wei Hanyang, a power market analyst at Bloomberg New Energy, said lower thermal coal supplies also contributed to the power shortages in Hunan during the cold weather. Wei urged the authorities to increase coal supplies to Hunan and the storage of water for small hydroelectric plants in the immediate and near term, while in the long term, a spot power market that can reflect real time demand is needed along with peak services compensation for power companies. In Hunan, authorities said the province had reached the electricity grid's maximum load of 30.93 million kilowatts, a record winter load for the province. In addition to ensuring stable supplies of coal this winter and next spring, the administration also urged power generation companies to ensure power supplies, strengthen the operation and maintenance of units and avoid power gaps due to temporary shutdowns of important equipment. All regional power authorities should implement emergency plans, prepare for cold, rain, snow and freezing disasters, guide power companies to prepare for emergency repairs and minimize the effect of natural disasters on the operations of power plants, it said in a statement.