More than five million people in southwestern China have suffered recurrent power outages due to a heat wave that has skyrocketed electricity consumption and disrupted their supply, even forcing some factories to shut down.
Temperatures in Sichuan province have been above 40ºC in the last few days, causing an increase in energy demand for air conditioners.
At the same time, the region relies heavily on dams to generate hydroelectric power, but the heat wave has dried up the reservoirs and accentuated the electricity shortage.
A local power company said Dazhou, a city of 5.4 million people in the northeastern part of the province, was receiving intermittent power on Wednesday, according to Shanghai-based online newspaper The Paper.
Because of this, residents are suffering power cuts of up to three hours that will extend if necessary, the paper added, citing Dazhou Electric Power Group.
"The load on the lines is very high" and affects both urban areas and towns and villages around Dazhou, The Paper reported.
Several factories in Sichuan were forced to halt their activities after authorities ordered to prioritize power supply to residential areas.
Among the affected factories is a Toyota joint venture with a local company in the provincial capital Chengdu, which halted its activity on Monday, a spokeswoman told AFP.
Local media point out that the largest electric car battery manufacturer, Contemporary Amperex Technology, has also halted production in the city of Yibin.
Sichuan concentrates half of China's production of lithium, a material needed for electric car batteries.
The region also has numerous hydroelectric power plants that supply the important industrial zones on China's east coast.
A warning issued over the weekend ordered industrial activity to be halted in 19 of the province's 21 cities.
Multiple Chinese cities have recorded the highest temperatures in their history this year.
On Wednesday, the national meteorological observatory extended its red alert for high temperatures, the highest on a four-level scale.
Scientists say such extreme weather phenomena are more frequent and intense around the world due to climate change.