BEIJING, Oct. 18 -- China's power consumption growth slowed further in September as factory activity and industrial output posted weaker increases amid the economic downturn.
The National Energy Administration (NEA) said Wednesday that China's total electricity consumption grew only 2.9 percent from a year earlier to 405.1 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh).
The growth was 0.7 percentage point lower than August and 9.3 percentage points lower than September 2011, according to NEA data.
The September data brought electricity consumption in the first nine months to 3.69 trillion kwh, up 4.8 percent year on year, further easing from the 5.1-percent growth seen in the first eight months, according to NEA data.
"The slower growth of power consumption is the result of energy-consuming industries, like the real estate and infrastructure construction sectors, decelerating amid the slowing economy," said Zhou Dadi, standing vice president of the China Energy Research Society.
The NEA data showed that electricity consumed by the industrial and manufacturing sector continued to slide, accounting for 73 percent of the the country's total power consumption in September, with energy-intensive industries taking the lion's share.
From July to September, power consumption by the industrial and manufacturing sector continued to decline, indicating that the Chinese economy is still facing downward pressure.
Moreover, cool weather and continuous rainfalls in September also contributed to the decline, experts said.
Zhou said the decline in power consumption can also be explained by the country's economic restructuring.
Power consumed by the agriculture sector dipped 0.3 percent year on year to 79.5 billion kwh, while electricity consumed by the industrial and manufacturing sector added 2.9 percent year on year to 2.7 trillion kwh.
But service industry consumption and residential power consumption both expanded much faster than that of the agriculture and industrial sectors during the period, according to the NEA data.
Electricity consumption by the service sector increased 11.3 percent year on year to reach 428.5 billion kwh, while residential electricity use amounted to 477.9 billion kwh, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier.
"With the restructuring of the Chinese economy, power consumption by the service sector and residential electricity use will rise gradually," said Zhou.
Despite recent slides, the country's power consumption is expected to rise 7 percent to 5.1 trillion kwh this year, as the country's economy is stabilizing, according to estimates from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.