Residents in north-eastern China are facing an unannounced power outage, as power shortages that initially hit factories are spreading across homes.
People residing in the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang expressed their complaints on social media about the lack of heating, and the traffic signals not working.
Local media said the cause was an increase in coal prices which led to short in supplies
The country relies heavily on coal for power generation.
One power company has said it expects power outages to continue until spring next year, and that unforeseen power outages will be a “new standard”. Its post, however, was later deleted.
The power shortage initially affected producers across the country, many of whom had to stop or stop production in recent weeks.
But over the weekend residents in some cities have seen power outages from time to time, with the hashtag “North East power cut” and other related phrases on social media such as Twitter Weibo.
The extent of the power outage is not yet clear, but nearly 100 million people live in the three provinces.
In the province of Liaoning, a factory where a sudden respite from work had to send 23 workers to the hospital with carbon poison.
There were also reports of people being rushed to hospital after using stoves in air-conditioned rooms for heating, and people living in high-rise buildings who had to go up and down stairs as their lifts did not work.
One video circulating in the Chinese media showed cars traveling on the other side of the busy highway in Shenyang in complete darkness, with traffic lights and street lights turned off. City officials told The Beijing News that they saw a “huge” power shortage.
Communication forums from the affected region said the situation was similar to living in neighboring North Korea.
The Jilin provincial government said efforts were being made to acquire more coal in Inner Mongolia to address the shortage of coal.
Energy restrictions already exist in factories in 10 other provinces, including manufacturing facilities in Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has promised that his country will reach a high level of carbon emissions within nine years.
However, various regions have been criticized by the government for failing to set targets for energy reduction, putting pressure on local authorities not to increase energy use, reports BBC’s Stephen McDonell from Beijing.