Power shortage in Sichuan is now a major emergency

China’s Sichuan province activated its highest emergency response yesterday to deal with “extremely exceptional” power supply deficiencies, adding to the woes of manufacturers in the region as they shuttered factories.

The hottest and driest summer since Chinese records began 61 years ago has withered crops and left reservoirs at half their normal water level.

That, combined with record power demand, has caused gaps in Sichuan’s power supply, the province said in a statement.

Photo: Reuters

It is the first time that Sichuan has launched a high-level emergency response after presenting its energy supply emergency plan in January. Measures include starting emergency generators to meet electricity demand from households, large users and regions first, and maximizing oil, gas and coal production.

Sichuan is one of the most populous provinces in China and a major manufacturing center for vehicle electronic cells and solar panels. Companies such as Toyota Motor Corp and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (新能源科技) have already closed factories in the area for several days.

Offices and shopping malls in Sichuan were ordered to turn off lights and air conditioning, while the metro in the provincial capital, Chengdu, said it turned off thousands of lights at stations.

Shanghai suspended present and future landscape lighting near the Huangpu River, including the Bund waterfront, to save energy.

According to Sichuan’s energy emergency plan, a Level 1 emergency response allows it to request assistance from the state council and increases the frequency of communication between energy suppliers and the provincial government.

The current peak load of electricity demand in Sichuan has jumped to 65 million kilowatts, an increase of 25 percent from a year earlier, local authorities and power grid officials said Saturday at a meeting. a press briefing.

At the same time, water inflows for hydropower generation have more than halved, and key reservoirs that secure electricity consumption at load centers such as Chengdu have reached dead storage levels.

Meanwhile, the Global Times quoted China’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian (唐仁健) as saying that the next 10 days are a “key period of damage resistance” for the rice harvest in southern China. China.

Emergency measures would be taken to “ensure the autumn grain harvest”, which accounts for 75% of China’s annual total, Tang said on Friday, according to the report.

Authorities would “try to increase the rain” by seeding clouds with chemicals and spraying crops with a “water-retaining agent”, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on its website.

The governments of Sichuan and neighboring Hubei province say thousands of hectares of crops are lost and millions damaged.

The Hubei government declared a drought emergency on Saturday and said it would release disaster relief, while the Sichuan government said 819,000 people are facing drinking water shortages.

Additional reports per AP

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