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China’s Power Worries Shift to Winter as Reservoirs Are Depleted

  • Energy crunch heaps pressure on nation’s faltering economy
  • Sichuan’s rainfall was the lowest since records began in 1960s

The historic drought that led to power outages in parts of China last month has left reservoirs depleted, raising fears that regions dependent on hydropower will be at risk of another electricity crunch this winter.

The power crisis in the southwestern province of Sichuan and the neighboring municipality of Chongqing has mostly abated this week, after officials curtailed electricity to many industrial customers to meet demand for air-conditioning amid the scorching temperatures. But the reservoirs that Sichuan relies on for about 80% of its power capacity remain low, which could constrain electricity generation through the rest of the year.