VI. Deeper Reform of the Energy System in All Areas
China will fully leverage the decisive role of the market in allocating energy resources, and ensure the government better play its part in this regard. It will extend market-oriented reform in key areas and on vital issues to remove institutional barriers, solve the problem of an incomplete market system, provide strong institutional guarantees for China's energy security and boost the high-quality development of the energy sector.
1. Creating an Energy Market with Effective Competition
China is working hard to cultivate a variety of market entities, break up monopolies, ease market access, and encourage competition. It is building an energy market system that is unified, open, competitive and yet orderly, removing market barriers, and making the allocation of energy resources more efficient and fairer.
Diversifying market entities. China supports a variety of market entities to operate in segments of the energy sector that are not on the entry negative list, in accordance with the law and on equal footing. China has extended systemic reform of oil and gas exploration and exploitation and opened up the market in this regard. It has implemented competitive trading of oil and gas exploration blocks, and adopted a more rigorous exit mechanism for oil- and gas-bearing zones. China encourages qualified enterprises to import crude oil. It has reformed the oil and gas pipeline operation system to separate transport from sales. In an effort to reform electricity distribution, China is opening up electricity distribution and sales to non-government investment in an orderly manner, and is separating power grid enterprises' secondary business from their core business. New market entities are being cultivated in the fields of electricity distribution and sales, energy storage, and comprehensive energy services. Meanwhile, China is extending reform of energy SOEs, supporting development of the non-public sector, and conducting active yet prudent mixed-ownership reform in the energy industry to boost the vitality and motivation of energy enterprises.
Building an energy market system that is unified, open, and competitive yet orderly. China has established trading platforms for coal, electricity, petroleum and natural gas to facilitate interaction between demand and supply. A modern coal market system is under construction. Futures trading of thermal coal, coking coal and crude oil and spot trading of natural gas are under way. Restrictions have been lifted on the generation and consumption of electricity by commercial consumers. An electricity market is under way to incorporate medium- and long-term trading, spot trading and other forms of trading of electricity. China is also working to build a unified electricity market across the country and a national carbon emissions trading market.
2. Improving the Market-Based Mechanism for Deciding Energy Prices
Following the principle of "allowing for more competition in electricity generation, sales and consumption while tightening government regulation of power grid, transmission and distribution", China has lifted price control over competitive areas and links. The goal is to allow prices to reflect market demand, and thereby guide the allocation of resources. It has also conducted strict government oversight of the determination of pricing to cover reasonable costs.
Lifting price control over competitive links in an orderly manner. China is steadily fostering a market-based pricing mechanism of commercial electricity generation and distribution, and allowing prices to be decided by electricity users, sellers and producers through market-based modalities. China has extended reform of the price-setting mechanism for on-grid electricity from coal-fired power plants, and introduced a market-based pricing mechanism in which electricity prices may fluctuate above or below the benchmark. Steady progress has been made in determining the price of on-grid electricity from new wind and solar PV power plants through competitive bidding. Relevant parties are encouraged to negotiate on the basis of sharing risks and benefits, and set through market-based modalities the price for trans-provincial or trans-regional transmission of electricity. The pricing mechanism for oil products is being improved. Reform is ongoing in having the market determine gas prices. China has enforced progressive pricing for household consumption of electricity and gas across the nation, ensuring basic living needs are met while encouraging conservation.
Appropriately deciding prices for natural monopoly operations. Allowing recovery of costs plus reasonable profits, China has set appropriate transmission and distribution prices for power grids and gas pipelines. It has analyzed costs and verified prices for electricity transmission and distribution over two regulatory periods. China has also stepped up the price regulation of gas transmission and distribution and analyzed gas costs in order to establish a price regulation system that covers the whole process of gas transmission and distribution.