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Chengdu power shortage makes heat unbearable

Updated: Oct 9, 2022 Print
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Two thermal power generator sets operate at full capacity at Jintang Power Generation Co, a branch of China Energy Group in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on Monday. As the city's only major thermal power plant, its workload has hit record highs since July. LI DONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Recently, when people in Chengdu, Sichuan province meet, they say "It's so hot" instead of "Hello".

Chengdu has witnessed the hottest summer in six decades. As a rare drought has lowered the water level of rivers in Sichuan, power shortages have been felt in the city.

Pu Jie, a middle-aged employee of Hema Fresh in Jinniu district, said her supermarket had been dimly lit for days.

Feng Shuping, a taxi driver with Chengdu Bus Transportation Co, said he has to line up for a long time each day to recharge his taxi.

"As power is in short supply, most charging piles have been switched off and drivers have to wait in front of low voltage charging piles still in operation, and it takes much more time to have cars recharged," he said.

After days of unusually high temperatures, people in various parts of Sichuan province complain they cannot do without air conditioners, which have required power supplies to be restricted for industry to support residents' use.

To meet rising public demand for power, industrial power consumption in the province has been limited since Aug 15, which has managed to reallocate seven million kilowatts for people's needs, according to Sichuan Daily.

But sustained high temperatures, dwindling water levels in rivers in the aftermath of a rare drought and people's huge demand for electricity have made it difficult for the power sector to make ends meet.

The water shortage in major reservoirs in Sichuan, such as those at Tingzikou, Changheba and Houziyan hydropower stations, has become critical, which is abnormal for the flood season, according to a conference held by the Sichuan Economic and Information Department, Sichuan Provincial Water Resources Department, the Sichuan Provincial Meteorological Service and the State Grid Sichuan Electric Power Co on Saturday.

Affected by the continuous decline in reservoir storage, daily hydropower generation has dropped significantly in Sichuan, which is known for its rich water resources and where 80 percent of electric power supply is from hydropower.

In addition, the Sichuan Provincial Meteorological Service has forecast that high temperatures will continue for days in some areas, and that the hydropower generation capacity in Sichuan is expected to further decline.

At 3 pm on Sunday, a record temperature of 43.4 C was reported in Jianyang, a city under the administration of Chengdu.

On that same day, the Office of the Sichuan Provincial Energy Supply Guarantee Emergency Command Leading Group issued a notice saying it had decided to start the first-level emergency response to energy supply guarantees.

When necessary, the provincial government shall report to the central government for support, and the State Council shall uniformly lead, organize and direct the emergency energy supply guarantee response, the notice said.

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