Amidst a scorching month of July, the slow growth in power consumption has been seen as a sign that the government's energy saving measures are taking effect.
The nation consumed 389.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last month, up 13.94 percent, according to figures released by the National Energy Administration Saturday (NEA). The yearly growth rate in July was much slower as compared to the 23.1 percent in April, 20.8 percent in May and 14.14 percent in June. The nation's power generation also grew at a slower pace in July.
China has stepped up measures to curb energy-intensive sectors this year in an effort to reduce energy use per unit of GDP by 20 percent, a goal the government set five years ago.
The National Development and Reform Commission said in May it would scrap preferential electricity rates for high energy-consuming businesses and increase power surcharges for firms that are to be eliminated.
The government stepped up it pace to shut down inefficient factories in 18 sectors. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology pledged to close more than 2,000 firms with obsolete capacity before the end of September.
Though China's consumption of energy relative to economic output rose in the first half by 0.09 percent from the same period last year, the pace was much slower than the 3.2 percent increase in energy intensity for the first quarter.
The NEA said July 20 that yearly growth rate of power consumption will keep falling back in the following months of the year.
Due to tightening measures on the property market and the urgency of fulfilling emission targets, power consumption growth is expected to slow in the second half of the year, said the NEA.
The easing in power consumption seemed also related to the nation's cooling economy.
Growth of urban fixed-asset investment and retail sales both weakened in July. The industrial growth fell further to 13.4 percent year-on-year in July compared to 13.7 percent in June.
Industrial power use accounts for about 70 percent of the country's total power consumption.