Sichuan restores most industrial power after two-week crisis

Sichuan has restored most power supplies for industries and businesses after restrictions lasting about two weeks. PHOTO: ST FILE

SICHUAN (BLOOMBERG) - China’s south-western province of Sichuan eased emergency energy measures, allowing companies like Toyota Motor to resume normal operations after restrictions lasting about two weeks.

The provincial government said Monday (Aug 29) it lowered its energy supply emergency to level-two from level-one, as recent rains have helped bring lower temperatures.

China's south-western province of Sichuan has restored most power supplies for industries and businesses by Sunday (Aug 28) noon

Power use at large-scale industries started gradually resuming by noon Sunday (Aug 28), except for those with excessive energy consumption, according to news reports, citing the State Grid Corporation of China.

Toyota said its plant in Chengdu was resuming normal operations on Monday, while Honda Motor said it plans to partly restart its power-products facility in Chongqing, also on Monday, using in-house generation.

Nikkei reported that electronics manufacturer Foxconn has restarted its factory in Chengdu.

Large-scale industries will fully resume once water supplies to hydropower stations in Sichuan improve.

Local governments in Sichuan and Chongqing ordered power cuts for industrial plants and households, as the region faced searing heat and severe drought.

Sichuan, which relies heavily on hydropower, has seen its main reservoirs drained, while sections of the Yangtze River reached the lowest level since at least 1865.

Lower temperatures and rain helped to ease the power shortage. Hydropower output rose to 460 million kilowatt-hours Sunday, 9.5 per cent above the lowest level earlier when the province adopted power restrictions.

Cooler weather has also reduced air-conditioning demand, requiring less power needed to be diverted to people's homes.

The peak amount of electricity needed for cooling fell to 12 gigawatts Sunday, down by half from the previous week.

More widespread weather shifts are expected early this week, with rainfall in Sichuan possibly ramping up from extreme drought to about 40 per cent more than normal.

Rain is also likely to end heatwaves in southern and eastern China later this week, bringing an end to power control orders that affected factories in those areas.

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