The Maldives capital Male’ witnessed the highest-ever electricity consumption on Sunday, as the peak load reached a record high of 102 MW at 2:10 pm. In a statement released today, Stelco, the sole electricity provider in the city, urged people to use less electricity, stating that the heatwave faced by the country has put the power grid under severe strain.

Meanwhile, the country’s weather bureau, Maldives Meteorological Service (MET Office), has issued a cautionary statement, warning the public of the extremely hot weather. The hottest hour of the day is expected to be at 2:00 pm, the office said.

Air conditioners were identified as the biggest contributor to household electricity bills, accounting for 40 percent of the total bill. To save electricity, Stelco advised the public to maintain a temperature above 25 degrees Celsius.

This record high in electricity consumption comes just a few days after the electricity consumption in the city rose to a record high of 92.5 MW on the 11th of this month. As the country continues to battle the extreme heat, Stelco and the government are calling on the public to conserve electricity and play their part in reducing the electricity load on the city’s power grid.

The situation is not unique to Male’, as other parts of the Maldives and countries in the South Asian region are experiencing extreme heatwaves, with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas. According to the MET Office, temperatures have risen to over 33 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, surpassing the last 29-year average record of 28.9 degrees Celsius. The MET Office has advised people to take precautions and protect themselves from the intense heat.

As the South Asia region continues to experience extreme heat, experts are urging individuals, communities, and governments take steps to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, adding that the heatwave is a reminder of the urgent need to address climate change and take action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.