According to Nikkei, China has begun rolling blackouts in Beijing and Shanghai, metropolises home to 48 million people, as the country struggles with crippling power shortages that have hit key factories, posing a further threat to the economy.
The State Grid Corp. of China’s Beijing office has announced that scheduled power outages will begin in select areas on Sunday. During the day, electricity will be cut off for a few hours at a time.
At least four districts in the capital will be affected by the rolling blackouts. They include Xicheng and Dongcheng, which house government agencies and top officials’ residences; Chaoyang, which is home to many foreigners; and Haidan, which is home to several tech companies,the report said
“The main purpose is to carry out regular equipment maintenance and upgrades to the power grid,” State Grid said in a social media post Tuesday. “At present, the power grid in the capital has sufficient, stable and orderly supply.”
The exact number of affected homes and businesses has not been disclosed. According to some media outlets, the blackouts cut through about 60 grid sections, leaving more than 10,000 people without power. The city of Beijing has a population of 22 million people.
The scheduled blackouts primarily affect private residences, sparing factories.
Shanghai, which has a population of 26 million people, will also experience rolling blackouts through Sunday. Due to the national power shortage, Apple and Tesla suppliers in Jiangsu Province, which borders Shanghai, have suspended operations.
According to Nikkei, Japanese manufacturers’ factories in Guangdong Province have been affected.
The northeastern region of China’s Rust Belt is bearing the brunt of the power shortage. According to media reports, traffic signals in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, have stopped working, causing traffic congestion. Jilin City’s water supply has been unstable in Jilin Province, and officials have urged residents to stock up on water.
The main cause of the electricity shortage is the slowing operation of coal plants. Coal prices have risen by more than 30% year on year, forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce output.