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Electricity demand sets a record in Beijing
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Electricity demand in Beijing set a record on Friday as sweltering residents switched on their air conditioners.

The Beijing power grid reported peak demand of 12.03 million kilowatts at 2:38 p.m., according to a spokesman with the Beijing Electric Power Co., which is under the State Grid.

"The grid is operating stably and smoothly," he said. "We are confident that we can satisfy the electricity demand of the Olympic venues."

The maximum demand this summer was predicted to reach 14.6 million kw, he said, adding that air-conditioning use was the main cause of the rising consumption.

The previous record in Beijing was 11.9 million kw on Aug. 21 last year.

The city has experienced sauna-like weather in the past two days, with a high of 39 degrees Celsius on Thursday and 35 degrees Celsius on Friday.

Local meteorological authorities issued a heat warning on Thursday, reminding the public of the possibility of heatstroke.

Temperatures were expected to drop over the weekend, after heavy rain hit the capital at rush hour on Friday afternoon, but highs will remain above 30 degrees Celsius, forecasters said.

The State Council, or the cabinet, issued a circular last June, banning temperatures lower than 26 degrees Celsius in all air-conditioned public buildings in the country.

In its five-year plan to 2010, the government has vowed to cut energy intensity by 20 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2008)

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