Residents in the Xingfucun area near Sanlitun had a nasty shock earlier this week when they discovered that they are likely to be without hot water for five months, apparently due to street works to repair underground water pipes. The planned works are due to begin Apr 1, and last until Sep 2, a period of five months in total.
News of the outage was first shared in a local community WeChat group, with residents posting pictures of a notice that appeared in Glory Gardens (Jinxiuyuan) on Xingfucun Zhonglu on Tuesday, Mar 26. The same notice was quickly spotted in other nearby buildings, including the large Lianbao Community, which is home to a high number of expats.
So far, we have confirmed that the works will affect numerous communities within the two-block radius between Dongzhimen Outer Street (north), Workers’ Stadium North Road (south), Xindong Road (east), and Chunxiu Road (west). Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a full list of the buildings that look to be affected.
Residents in the area, which is home to many foreigner-friendly businesses, are being instructed by their respective building managements to buy and install their own wall-mounted, or floor-standing electric hot water heaters. It is unclear if the costs will be reimbursed by building management, landlords, or to be covered by the residents themselves.
Calling the number listed on the notices, we were informed that the outage was due to planned street works on underground water pipes in the area. The man we spoke to, a representative of Beijing District Heating Group, the company responsible for the work, added that “the reason that we gave the notice now is to allow people time to prepare.” Many have complained that one week’s notice before five months of no hot water hardly constitutes a forewarning.
The announcement comes just weeks after construction barriers, which had been in place for over a year, were finally removed from Building 55, Xingfucun Zhonglu, in front of popular burger joint Cannon’s, 50/50 cocktail bar, bakeries Comptoirs de France and There Will be Bread, and other F&B outlets. Joy at the removal of the ugly metal sheeting was tempered by the knowledge that the street is frequently being dug up, and would likely be in construction phase again soon. This caution appears to have been well founded.
Various local businesses who we reached out to said that they had been unaware of the impending works. Richard Ammerman, marketing director of Jing-A, said that the brewpub has its own 1,000-liter boiler and so is not reliant on the public hot water supply. “Ours is all from electric heaters we control, so all good,” he added. Paddy O’Shea’s Manager Paul Rochon stated that the works would not impact Paddy’s but added, “I live there too… that’s more of a problem for my daily shower… [but]I don’t really care, because I have boiler for hot water.”
Meanwhile, Sophie Trentesaux, marketing manager of Comptoirs de France, appeared to be the only business who had already been informed of the issue, stating, “it’s really annoying! But it’s ok for Comptoirs de France Xingfu, it will not impact anything. The only issue we have is to wash the dishes but we bought a machine to warm up the water.” David Li of Red Rose also stated that his business would not be affected.
While the Beijing District Heating Group representative maintained that the works are related to underground water pipe repairs, others speculated that they may be due to construction works on the Sanlitun Line 17 subway station, which is slated to open later this year. Regardless of why the outage is happening, it seems like some residents are in for an especially sweaty summer.
So far we can confirm that the following buildings and communities will be affected: Lianbao Community, Jiezuo Building (Just Make), Gangwanting, Glory Gardens (Jinxiuyuan), International Wonderland, Shimao Gongsan, Shoukai Bojun.
We will update this story as news develops.
This article first appeared on our sister site, the Beijinger.
Photos: Pexels, WeChat