Electricity demand in Beijing hit a record on Tuesday as sweltering residents switched on their air conditioners.
Beijing power grid reported a peak 11.22 million kw in electricity consumption by 5:00 PM, the highest in history. The maximum capacity this year was 13 million kw, said Niu Jincang, spokesman with Beijing Electric Power Co. under the State Grid.
The company would closely monitor the situation and take measures to ensure power supplies, said Niu.
The maximum temperature was 37 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, according to meteorological reports.
The city's Tian'anmen Square emptied of its usual crowds of sightseers as people chose to shelter in the shade of buildings around its edges.
Local meteorological authorities issued high-temperature warnings twice on Monday, warning people of the possibility of heatstroke.
Neighboring Tianjin recorded 37.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, while Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, saw the temperature rise to 39.7 degrees Celsius on Monday, the highest in eight years.
Temperatures are expected to drop on Wednesday with the onset of rain in some areas, according to weather forecasts.
Electricity demand in Beijing fluctuated with weather changes and the city greatly relied on power imported from other areas, said Niu.
The use of air-conditioning was the main cause of the rising consumption in summer.
Chinese people have been told to go easy on the air-conditioning to reduce energy consumption and office workers have been advised to wear light, casual clothes rather than formal suits.
The State Council, or the cabinet, in early June issued a circular, banning temperatures lower than 26 degrees in all air-conditioned public buildings in China.
In its five-year plan to 2010, the government has promised to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent, or four percent each year, but consumption fell by just 1.23 percent last year.
(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2007)