Russia power prices fall 33 pct, consumption sinks

MOSCOW, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Electricity prices fell 32.9 percent this week in central Russia and the Urals region, the most populous parts of the country, from the combined effect of warm weather and economic decline, official data said on Friday.

From Jan. 9 through Jan. 15, electricity consumption was also down, falling by a nationwide average of 8.9 percent year on year. Only seven out of 64 regions saw an increase in power consumption, according to data from the Market Council, an industry regulator.

In recent months, the global financial crisis has largely derailed the growth of the electricity sector, which had been expected to continue booming in line with the power consumption of Russia’s oilfields, steel mills, factories and homes.

Anomalously warm winter temperatures in European Russia have also contributed to the falling demand, but not nearly as much as the economic turmoil, analysts said. (Reporting by Simon Shuster)