Chinese city dims lights to save energy

Chinese city dims lights to save energy

BEIJING, China | A major city in China has dimmed subway lights and turned off billboards to conserve electricity as parts of the country face shortages due to extreme temperatures.

Fortunately, mercury has topped 40C in recent days in Sichuan, a province 80% of which depends on dams for electricity.

The heatwave has dried up the region’s waterways, straining the power grid with air conditioning running at full blast.

To save energy, the metropolitan Chengdu (southwest) metro on Thursday said it was “optimizing” the temperature of the air conditioning units in trains and stations.

Public lighting will also be reduced and subway billboards will no longer be lit, according to a video by the public agency showing stations appearing in the dark.

With over 20 million inhabitants, Chengdu is the provincial capital of Sichuan.

For its part, the municipality had ordered on Tuesday to no longer illuminate outdoor advertising.

The city announced that the ubiquitous illuminated signs in China would also have to be deleted on the street.

As of this week, Sichuan has rationed electricity as many factories and businesses shut down and some residents experienced intermittent power outages.

These difficulties pose a challenge to China’s economic lifeblood as the coastal regions of Jiangsu and Zhejiang are supplied with electricity from Sichuan.

According to the CNS news agency, the flow of the Yangtze is 51% below the average for the past five years.

Midsummer heat waves are not uncommon in China, especially in the country’s dry west and south.

But the country is facing extreme weather conditions this year, which scientists say will be exacerbated by global warming.

According to national meteorology, China is experiencing the longest hot spell since 1961.

In Jiangsu (east) it is so hot that the bitumen reaches 68°C in places. Local authorities have warned motorists of the risk of tire blowouts.

Flash floods also hit normally dry northwest China on Wednesday.

The tally, which was revised upwards on Friday, now shows at least 18 dead and 13 missing, state broadcaster CCTV said.

This bad weather had caused mudslides in a mountainous area and diverted the course of a river.