Global power consumption to fall for first time since 1945 - IEA

22 May 2009 - Global electricity consumption will fall this year for the first time since 1945, according to the International Energy Agency.

The watchdog for developed energy consuming countries will tell energy ministers from the Group of Eight leading economies on Sunday that electricity demand will fall 3.5 per cent in 2009, reported the Financial Times.

In China, where power use is seen as a more reliable barometer of economic activity than official economic measures, consumption will be more than 2 per cent lower than 2008. Russia will see a fall of almost 10 per cent, while countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will see a fall of almost 5 per cent.

Three-quarters of the global decline in consumption is accounted for by industrial rather than household demand, reflecting the fall in demand from China's manufacturing-heavy economy. Consumption in India, by contrast, is expected to increase 1 per cent.

"This shows how deep a recession we are in," said Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist. "Oil demand has declined in the past due to oil price shocks, financial crises – but electricity consumption has never decreased.

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