China factories ration power as heatwave sends demand soaring

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China factories ration power as heatwave sends demand soaring

Chinese lithium hub Sichuan province will ration electricity supply to factories until Saturday (Aug 20), state media reported, as a heatwave sends power demands soaring and dries up reservoirs.

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Temperatures in the province - home to nearly 84 million people - have hovered above 40 to 42 degrees Celsius since last week, according to data from China's Meteorological Administration, increasing the demand for air conditioning.

The region relies on dams to generate 80 per cent of its electricity, but rivers in the area have dried up this summer, Beijing's Water Resources Ministry said.

The province in China's south-west produces half the nation's lithium, used in batteries for electric vehicles, and its hydropower projects provide electricity to industrial hubs along the country's east coast.

But the local government has decided to prioritise residential power supply, ordering industrial users in 19 out of 21 cities in the province to suspend production until Saturday, according to a notice issued on Sunday.

Several companies including aluminium producer Henan Zhongfu Industrial and fertiliser producers Sichuan Meifeng Chemical Industry said in stock exchange statements they were suspending production.

A plant operated by Taiwanese giant and Apple supplier Foxconn in the province has also suspended production, Taipei's Central News Agency reported.

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