Electricity usage in the first quarter of the year fell by 4% as industrial activity began to recover, state media reported. The China Electricity Council (CEC) said total consumption fell to 781 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), while the power supply of State Grid Corp of China, the country’s major grid operator, fell 3.3% to 680 billion kWh. The CEC said electricity use had risen “noticeably” in March from Feburary, but was still down 2% from March last year. Government economists expect positive power demand growth to return in the second or third quarter of this year. Coastal provinces with a heavy reliance on export-related industries continue to post the poorest power growth figures.