(Bloomberg) -- A heat wave is scorching Brazil and causing a spike in energy demand as households and businesses crank up air conditioning units and doctors tells residents to avoid open-air activities during the hottest times of the day.

Latin America’s most populous nation recorded its warmest winter since 1961 with cities across northern Brazil registering temperatures of over 40C (104F), according to the National Institute of Meteorology. The national grid operator, known as ONS, says electricity demand has increased nearly 6% in September.

The record temperatures come as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is calling on wealthy nations to step up aid in the fight against climate change. Since returning to power in January, the leftist leader has demanded more international funding to protect the Amazon rainforest, which scientists believe is key to slowing global warming. Brazil will host the the United Nations’ COP30 climate meetings in the jungle city of Belem 2025. 

The planet had already recorded its warmest August in at least 174 years, with temperature beating records in Asia, Africa, North America and South America, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Read More: Brazil Calls on Rich Nations to Pay for Global Energy Transition

Meanwhile, Brazilians are trying to beat the heat as best as they can. Major retailers including Magazine Luiza SA and Americanas SA saw a surge in purchases of AC units and fans, particularly in brick-and-mortar stores located in some of the hottest areas of the country, according to newspaper O Globo.

The jump in electricity consumption “is a reflection of the intense heat and also a hot economy,” Luiz Carlos Ciocchi, the director of ONS, said in a statement last week. Despite the demand, Brazil’s grid remains “robust, safe and the scenario is favorable,” he added.

--With assistance from Peter Millard.

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