Record Power Consumption in Guangdong Sparks Severe Power Outages

By Jocelyn Richards, August 2, 2017

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        At the end of July (7月份的尾巴)    
        A power blackout happened in my place (我这停电了)  
        In the beginning of August (八月份的前奏)    
        I’m about to melt (我要融化了)    
        When the temperature is high (高温的时候)    
        If it’s an accident (如果是个意外)    
        When the power supply fails, I don’t want to live (停电的时候意外的想不开)

Cringe-worthy poetry and watermelon dresses aren't the only things the hot weather has inspired this month in Guangdong. More recently, scorching temperatures have sparked record high power consumption and ensuing power outages across the region.

As residents crank up the AC to beat the heat, the load on Guangdong’s local power grid has reached a record high. This past Monday, July 31, power consumption exceeded 102 million kilowatt-hours, trumping that of every other province across China.

The extra demand for electricity has overloaded the grid and resulted in sudden blackouts across Guangdong, interfering with surgeries in hospitals, cutting off entire urban villages from power in Tianhe, Baiyun, Haizhu and Panyu districts in Guangzhou and forcing residents to survive without air conditioning in temperatures with a ‘real feel’ of 45 degrees Celsius. 

One hospital in Tianhe District claims an unexpected blackout this week caused a surgeon to “accidentally cut the blood vessel” of a patient, resulting in “incessant bleeding.” 

“We couldn't see clearly... the surgeon asked me to fetch a flashlight but it wasn’t bright enough,” a doctor from Cen Village Hospital is quoted as saying in a Tencent article.

doctor-tianhe-hospital-blackout

While netizens were quick to criticize the hospital for failing to prepare a backup light before something as important as a surgery, they too have complained about the recent power outages and heat, with some admitting they have no choice but to seek refuge in nearby air-conditioned malls and supermarkets, returning home only after stores close for the night.

Though we can't confirm the origin of this video, we'd guess the scene looks something like this:


Outside China? Watch on YouTube.

According to Southcn.com, the Guangzhou Power Supply Bureau has been actively addressing problems with the grid and communicating with affected residents via text message (you can reach the bureau directly at hotline 95598).

Power outages in parts of Guangzhou and Shenzhen may continue over the next few days, as highs in Guangdong are predicted to hover between 33 and 36 degrees Celsius this week and next.

[Images via China Daily, Tencent News; h/t Tristin Zhang for poem translation]

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