China heat wave forces electricity use restriction to be extended

A record-breaking heatwave engulfing parts of China has prompted authorities in inland Sichuan province to extend their restriction on industrial electricity use.

Authorities had ordered companies that use large amounts of electricity to suspend production at their factories until last Saturday to deal with power shortages. Chinese media say there was an extension notice until Thursday.

Some companies are trying to overcome the situation with in-house power generation. These include Japanese companies such as Toyota Motor, which has a factory in the city of Chengdu in the province.

The city’s subway has set air conditioners to higher temperatures and commercial facilities have turned off lights to save electricity.

The mercury topped 40 degrees Celsius in Sichuan and Chongqing city on Sunday. Chinese media say temperatures have hit new highs at more than 200 vantage points in the past month.

Electricity usage restrictions are expected to remain in place until Wednesday in Chongqing. Panasonic has halted operations at its factory in the city.

Concerns are growing as many auto and semiconductor-related businesses are located in Sichuan and Chongqing, although the extreme heat is expected to ease from the middle of this week.

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