BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's power consumption in 2012 expanded at a much slower pace than a year earlier due to tempered growth in the world's second-largest economy, according to official figures released on Monday.
The National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a statement on its website that electricity used last year grew 5.5 percent from 2011 to 4.96 trillion kilowatt hours (kWh).
The growth rate was markedly lower than the 11.7-percent increase registered in 2011, echoing the slowdown in the country's economy last year.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that China's economy grew by 7.4 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2012, slowing for the seventh consecutive quarter. Key economic figures for the last quarter are scheduled to be released on Friday.
In a breakdown, the service sector consumed 11.5 percent more electricity than a year ago, the industrial sector 3.9 percent more, while power used by the agricultural sector stayed unchanged, the statement said.
The average operational time of power plants across the country with generation capacity of more than 6,000 kilowatts (kw) dropped by 158 hours to 4,572 hours last year, according to the NEA.
New generation capacity added last year stood at 87 million kw, the statement said.
By the end of last year, the country's total installed power generation capacity reached 1.14 billion kw, it added.
China remained the world's largest energy producer for a fifth straight year in 2012, with its hydropower and wind power sectors boasting the world's highest capacities, the NEA said last week.
The State Electricity Regulatory Commission said last Friday that China's electricity output rose 4.52 percent year on year to 4.94 trillion kWh in 2012.