China’s scorching region extends power curbs as heatwave lingers
SHANGHAI: China’s scorched southwestern regions extended curbs on power consumption on Monday as they deal with dwindling hydropower output and surging household electricity demand during a long drought and heatwave.
State weather forecasters issued a heat “red alert” for the 11th consecutive day on Monday, as extreme weather continues to play havoc with power supplies and damage crops. They also raised the national drought alert to “orange” — the second-highest level.
The drought has already “severely affected” mid-season rice and summer corn in some southern regions, the ministry of agriculture said on Sunday.
The National Meteorological Centre said as many as 62 weather stations, from Sichuan in the southwest to Fujian on the southeastern coast, recorded record temperatures on Sunday. The situation could improve starting on Wednesday as a cold front moves into China via Xinjiang.
The region of Chongqing, which hit temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) late last week, announced that opening hours at more than 500 malls and other commercial venues would be shortened starting on Monday to ease power demand.
Two malls on the list contacted on Monday confirmed that they had received the government notice and would abide by the new opening hours. Two hotels on the list said they were still operating normally but were restricting air conditioner use.
In neighbouring Sichuan province, a major hydropower generator, authorities also extended existing curbs on industrial power consumers until Aug 25, financial news service Caixin said on Sunday. Power generation in Sichuan is at just half the normal level.
It cited firms in the battery industry as saying that industrial power users in the cities of Yibin and Suining had been told to remain closed until Thursday.
A Sichuan-based pesticide producer, Lier Chemical Co Ltd , confirmed in a notice on Monday that output restrictions at two of its production bases in the province would continue until Aug 25. Toyota Motor Corp gradually resumed operations at its Sichuan plant in China on Monday using a power generator after suspending operations last week, the company’s spokesperson said.
Other regions have also sent 50 emergency power generating vehicles to Sichuan since last Thursday to help alleviate shortages, the Global Times newspaper said.
Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2022