Residents of the municipalities of Shanghai and Chongqing have spent the last few days in scorching heat, with serious consequences for local power supplies.
Shanghai's meteorological observatory has issued four "black warning" since Friday, something it does when the temperature is expected to hit 38 degrees Celsius within 24 hours.
After ten consecutive days of sweltering heat, the observatory has predicted that temperatures will begin to fall in the coming days.
The increased use of air conditioners has put a huge strain on Shanghai's electricity supplies, as well as resulting in high callouts for electrical problems.
Power department officials said that at 12:50 AM yesterday, a record electricity consumption peak of 16.4 million kilowatt was reached, almost the power grid's highest bearing capacity.
All generating units are in full operation, and grids outside the city have been supplying 4.83 million kilowatts, the maximum that they can.
Nearly 20,000 staff were sent out to deal with electrical problems, 60 percent of them in residential buildings.
The power department has advised residents to pay attention to electrical safety, and emergency plans are reportedly being put into place by the local government.
Chongqing, a city also known as Huolu or "hot oven," has had a weeklong heat wave, with the highest temperature reaching 39.8 degrees Celsius.
(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2005)