Electric power sales across the country rose 0.7 percent in May from a year earlier, marking the first increase in nine months, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by the Federation of Electric Power Companies.

The 10 biggest power companies sold 63.38 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, the federation said.

The industry group said the small increase arose because a shift in the meter-reading day meant there were more business days in the reporting month.

It also attributed the figures to a smaller decline in consumption by large-lot business users.

Although power demand by large-lot business users fell 0.4 percent in May from a year earlier to 21.18 billion kwh, down for the 16th consecutive month, the margin of decline was smaller than the 1.8 percent drop in April.

This can be taken as a sign of recovery in industrial users’ power demand, the official said.

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