Energy Information:

Status, Cost, and Need for Energy Consumption and Fuel Switching Data

RCED-89-98: Published: Apr 19, 1989. Publicly Released: May 22, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the adequacy of the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) energy information program data on industrial fuel switching, focusing on the: (1) status of information collected on industrial fuel use and fuel switching; (2) costs to government and industry to collect the information; and (3) need for the information.

GAO found that: (1) EIA distributed a survey in 1986, published the results of the energy consumption survey in November 1988 and the fuel-switching survey in December 1988, and planned to conduct the next triennial survey in 1989; (2) the estimated costs to the government of the 1986 survey totalled about $1.8 million and the cost to participating firms totalled more than $4 million; (3) most of the potential users of the survey data were federal offices; (4) seven of the eight federal offices indicated various uses for the energy consumption data, while five offices indicated a need for the fuel-switching capability data; (5) the greatest need for the information was for contingency planning for emergencies or supply disruptions; (6) limitations in the survey included lack of information on total physical capability to switch fuels, data collection on a triennial rather than an annual basis, and the lack of information on agricultural, construction, and mining industries; and (7) although EIA identified 17 states as potential users, the 3 states reviewed did not consider the information useful because the data could not be summarized for the individual states.

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