Senior Chinese government officials held an emergency teleconference to discuss the severe power disruptions caused by prolonged snow, rain and cold weather, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
"So far, 17 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have suffered blackouts, and power grids in central China's Hubei, Hunan provinces and south China's Guizhou and Guangdong provinces have been seriously damaged," said Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan.
Ma Kai, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, urged local governments to improve power supply plans so that the electricity could be used as needed.
"In areas already hit by power shortages, high-polluting and over-producing enterprises must have their power strictly limited, and ordinary industrial enterprises should reduce their consumption," Ma said. "Power demands of homes, hospitals, schools, railways, TV and radio broadcasters, financial systems and other work units concerning the public interest and national security must take priority," he said. "Other areas should also take measures to save power to ease power strains and balance supply and demand," he said.
The ongoing severe weather has caused major damage to power lines in the region.