LUCKNOW, India – Officials say thousands of people enraged by power cuts during an extreme heat wave have been rioting across northern India, setting electricity sub-stations on fire and taking power company officials hostage.
The impoverished state of Uttar Pradesh has never had enough power for its 200 million people, and normally many receive only a few hours a day. But recent temperatures that soared to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 Celsius) have caused power demand to spike, triggering unscheduled power cuts that shut down fans, water pumps and air conditioners.
A state utility official Narendra Nath Mullick says thousands ransacked an electricity substation Friday near the state capital of Lucknow, taking several workers hostage until police intervened Saturday morning.
Elsewhere, angry crowds set fire to electricity substations in Gonda and Gorakhpur.