China's power consumption stays low in Sept

Updated: 2012-09-19 10:08

By Du Juan (China Daily)

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China's power consumption in the first half of September remained at a low level, which indicates that the country's economic slowdown may continue, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission said on Monday.

China consumed 449.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in August, up 3.58 percent year-on-year, a record low since February.

The commission said on Monday that the figures in the first half of September were also lackluster, but it didn't provide specific numbers. The September figures are only expected to be released in mid-October.

China's power consumption stays low in Sept

The growth of the country's industrial value-added output has been falling recently. The figure in August was 8.9 percent, down from 9.2 percent in July, and the slowest rate since May 2009. The growth of the total retail sales for consumer goods has also been falling in recent months.

"At present, the global economy is gloomy and exports are not performing well," the commission's report said.

The commission said that the decline of the industrial power consumption growth rate decreased China's social power consumption - which includes industrial and residential usage - by 6.3 percentage points year-on-year in the first eight months of the year.

Falling power consumption among the four major high energy-consuming industries - chemicals, construction, metals and nonferrous metals - decreased social power consumption by 3.4 percentage points year-on-year in the same period.

The commission urged the government to expand the investment scale and improve the investment structure to boost the economy.

It said the country should accelerate construction of electric grids and support the construction of new energy projects, including wind and solar power.

Up to six provinces and autonomous regions saw power consumption drops in August year-on-year.

Electricity consumption growth in the central area of the country fell in August after successive increases in the three previous months.

The Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang and Henan provinces all saw power consumption declines in August compared with the same period last year.

The commission said that close attention should be paid to the situation and that measures should be taken to maintain steady growth.

"Three provinces (Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang) in the northeast have seen relatively low electricity consumption," said a government official who works in the power industry and declined to be named.

"Ningxia's power use decline may be related to the price drop for products in high energy-consuming industries, which are the main industries of the region," the official said.

In August, Ningxia's power consumption was down 5.22 percent year-on-year.