SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Electricity load in China’s Henan province hit a new record high on Monday, driven mainly by demand for air conditioning, as scorching heat waves spread through areas north of the Yangtze River.

Loads peaked at 71.08 million kilowatts, surpassing the previous day’s record of 65.34 million kilowatts, according to a state media report released Wednesday morning.

Premier Li Keqiang, visiting a thermal power company in Hebei province, said China must increase its coal production capacity to “resolutely prevent power cuts”, according to a media summary of the report. report published on Tuesday evening.

Parts of Hebei and neighboring provinces of Henan and Shandong faced drought conditions throughout June.

On Wednesday, the China Meteorological Administration issued orange alerts warning of high temperatures in areas of the three provinces.

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Adding to heat waves in northern China are heavy rains in seven provinces and a tornado that ripped through southern metropolises in Guangzhou, knocking out power to more than 5,400 users last week.

(Reporting by Wang Jing in Shanghai and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Michael Perry)

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