Heatwaves in China push electricity demand to record levels, southern floods inundate cities

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, June 22 (Reuters) – Heat waves in northern and central China have pushed electricity demand to record levels as millions of air conditioners turn on to escape sweltering conditions as floods in the south submerge villages and urban residents lock up.

On Wednesday, China’s meteorological administration issued orange warnings for high temperatures in regions in Shandong, Henan and Hebei provinces.

Several cities in Shandong, China’s second most populous province, have issued a high-temperature warning signal, raising the demand for air conditioning among the region’s more than 100 million people.

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Temperatures in the regions are expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) this week, according to the state’s weather forecaster.

The maximum electricity load on Shandong’s electricity grid reached 92.94 million kilowatts on Tuesday and passed the 2020 peak of 90.22 million kilowatts, a new record, state television said on Wednesday.

Taxes in neighboring Henan province peaked at 71.08 million kilowatts on Monday, surpassing the previous day’s record of 65.34 million kilowatts, according to state media. read more

Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who visited a cogeneration plant in northern Hebei province, said China must increase coal production capacity to “resolutely avoid power outages,” according to a state media summary published late Tuesday.

Parts of Hebei, Henan and Shandong experienced drought-like conditions in June as high temperatures arrived earlier this summer than in previous years.

CAUGHT BY FLOODS

As heatwaves raged in northern and central China, heavy rain fell in seven provinces in the south, including Guangdong, the country’s most populous. read more

On Wednesday, 113 rivers in China were flooded above warning levels, with seven above historic levels, state television was quoted as saying by the water resources ministry.

In Guangdong, the provincial disaster management department said heavy rains affected 479,600 people, destroyed 27.13 hectares of crops and 1,729 houses, leading to an economic loss of 1.756 billion yuan ($261 million), the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Residents in Yingde, a city in Guangdong where the flood warning had been upgraded to Level I, said on social media that water and power were cut when the area flooded.

China has a four-level warning system with Level I signaling the most severe floods.

“The water came very quickly, and I believe many have not prepared food in their homes,” said one user on the Chinese Twitter-like microblog Weibo.

Stores have run out of basic foodstuffs such as oil and rice as residents rushed to stock up, a local resident told Reuters.

Yingde authorities have relocated some residents in the south of the city and advised others not to leave their homes.

In Jiangxi province, captive villagers were rescued after floods washed away roads and bridges, state television reported.

($1 = 6.7153 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)

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Reporting by Albee Zhang, Ella Cao and Ryan Woo in Beijing, Wang Jing in Shanghai and Josh Horwitz; Additional coverage by Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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