The mainland's power consumption last month reached 426.9 billion kilowatt-hours, 5 per cent higher than a year earlier, the National Energy Administration said yesterday.
Total power consumption over the first five months reached 2.06 trillion kWh, up 4.9 per cent compared with the same period last year.
In the first five months of this year, the country put 24.66 gigawatts of new installed capacity into formal operation, including 12.27 GW of thermal power and 6.84 GW of hydropower.
Michael Parker, a senior analyst at American brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein, said last month's consumption growth figure was consistent with the country's decelerating economy.
Last year's power consumption growth was 5.5 per cent, and that of 2011 was 11.7 per cent.
"It is also in line with the trend of slowing industrial output growth, especially in energy-intensive heavy industries, and faster growth in services industries," Parker said.
Mainland industrial production in the first five months of the year saw the weakest growth since 2009.
Parker noted weak hydropower output growth last month coincided with a stronger 8 per cent growth in coal-fired power output, which is good news to Hong Kong-listed mainland power generators which derived the majority of their production from coal.
Growth of more than 9 per cent was expected this year, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission said in January.
In a speech published yesterday on the National Development and Reform Commission website, deputy director Liang Weiliang said power shortages were likely to ease this summer, traditionally the peak consumption season, but problems were expected to arise in the hydropower-dominated southwest, where drought has reduced reservoir volumes.