Global electricity use this year will fall for the first time since 1945 when records began, a signaling the seriousness of the economic recession, according to the International Energy Agency.

The international watchdog forecasts that global electricity demand will fall by 3.5 percent in 2009, according to a report that the agency will present on Sunday in Rome at a meeting with energy ministers from the eight leading industrialized nations known as the Group of Eight.

In the last 65 years we had so many things: we had the first oil price shock, the second oil price shock, Asian financial crisis, U.S. recession - electricity has never ever gone down. In 2009 for the first time it will go down. It shows how serious the recession is, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told The Associated Press on Friday.

The agency predicts in the report that China's electricity consumption will decline more than 2 percent compared to 2008. Russia’s use will drop nearly 10 percent while the rich countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - which include the United States and Japan among others - will see a drop of nearly 5 percent. An exception is India, which is expected to show an increase of 1 percent.

About 75 percent of expected decline is from industrial rather than household demand, according to the report, a sign of less manufacturing activity in China.

The IEA's advice to world governments on Sunday would be to increase spending of stimulus funds for the development of clean energy, Mr. Birol said according to the report.