The growth accelerated by 1.6 percentage points from February and improved markedly from a 2.2-percent contraction in March last year. For the first quarter of 2016, power use increased 3.2 percent year on year to 1.35 trillion kWh, with the growth rate up 2.4 percentage points from the same period of last year, Zhao said. He attributed the recovery to stronger demand in the service sector and households, which contributed to an increase of 3 percentage points in the first-quarter growth.
Power use by the service sector jumped 10.9 percent year on year in the first three months, up 4 percentage points from a year earlier. That by Chinese households gained 10.8 percent, up 8.2 percentage points. The financial, real estate, catering and hotel industries all recorded faster increases in power consumption, according to Zhao. Electricity used by the industrial sector climbed 0.2 percent in the first quarter, exiting negative territory but still at a relatively low level of growth, the spokesperson said.