Improvements Needed in Data Management by the Department of Energy

EMD-78-51: Published: Mar 24, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 1978.

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Shortcomings were found in certain data systems used by the Federal Power Commission (FPC) and the Federal Energy Administration (FEA) in managing natural gas and propane supplies during times of shortages. Although the responsibilities of these agencies have been consolidated in the Department of Energy (DOE), their data systems and processing methodology continue to be used by DOE.

If DOE continues to rely on essentially the same system used by FPC and FEA, DOE personnel will continue to have incomplete and dated information as the basis for their fuel supply projections and decisions. DOE managers could draw erroneous conclusions as to the severity of the fuel situation by using such information. This could lead to either costly fuel inventory buildups and the installation of unneeded alternate fuel capability or an unpreparedness for shortages that could result in plant closures and unemployment. To more effectively manage the natural gas and alternate fuel programs and enhance short-term decisionmaking, the data collection system should be improved to provide adequate and timely data on: natural gas deliveries, emergency gas supplies, and underground gas storage on a pipeline or distribution system; the potential economic impact and the volume of gas by end-use priority that is being served in each State; the location of the supplies; the ability of a transportation system to deliver the supplies; and the economic impact of propane shortages.

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