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As Heatwave Hits Iran, Electrical Grid Stretched To Limit

Summer heatwave in Tehran. File photo

July temperatures in Iran have reached a whopping 52-53 degrees Celsius (125-127 F) in some spots, as residents struggle with a lack of water and now a looming danger to the electricity network.

The high temperatures were recorded in south and southwest of the country, close to the Persian Gulf, while in Ardabil Province in the north, near the border with Azerbaijan, a chilly 13 Celsius or 55 F was recorded.

On July 11, the temperature in Tehran reached 38 Celsius or 100.5 the official news agency, IRNA reported.

With cooling units working around the clock in most of the country, Iran’s Ministry of Energy warned this week that the electrical grid is close to surpass its maximum capacity, which can result in a total network failure.

The ministry warned that electricity use has topped 57,000 megawatts daily. The total capacity of the network is 58,000. If electricity use reaches that mark, the network can experience a total failure, as it did in Azerbaijan recently.

The government has cut the office hours of its employees to reduce the need for electricity, but this has barely made a dent.

The ministry says electricity consumption for industrial-commercial production is just 3,687 megawatts, or roughly 7% of total usage. It is not clear to what extent this figure includes retail businesses.

Drought and lack of water has reduced hydroelectric power supplies, which has limited the ability to cope with the huge demand.