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Households and factories across 20 provinces in China are reeling from the worst power crunch in a decade. In Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning province and one of the most severely affected areas, schools have turned off the lights and sent children outside to play sports. Factories in manufacturing hubs, including in locations where suppliers of Apple and Tesla are based, scrambled to assemble power generators and scaled back production amid electricity rationing. In the neighboring city of Liaoyang, 23 metal workers were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning, after a power outage worsened the factory’s ventilation.
With the weather set to chill and temperatures expected to dip below freezing in the coming weeks, people fear there is much worse to come. “If there’s a power cut in the winter, then the heat stops too,” Fang Xuedong, a delivery driver in Shenyang, told the Guardian. “I have a kid and an elderly person at home, if there’s no heat then that’s a problem.”