The worst electric power shortage in four years has caused the central government to order authorities nationwide to take steps to conserve energy, Reuters reported. The State Council in a notice urged the leaders of China’s provinces and big cities to "fully understand the importance and urgency of conserving oil and electric power." The notice said China was less energy-efficient than developed countries, and that some government bodies waste energy. "Tightness in supplies of oil and electricity has become a major factor limiting economic and social development," it said. The notice told officials to enforce energy efficiency standards for automobiles and factories. It also said public transportation should be expanded, energy-efficient technologies should be promoted and air conditioner use in public places should be reduced.