Information on Budget Reductions in Energy Information Administration Programs

RCED-84-128: Published: May 4, 1984. Publicly Released: May 22, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on budget reductions for the Energy Information Administration (EIA) from fiscal years (FY) 1981 through 1984, and their effects on six EIA programs. GAO reviewed the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), the Nonresidential Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (NBECS), the Industrial Energy Consumption Survey, the State Energy Data System (SEDS), the Energy Emergency Management Information System (EEMIS), and the Middle Distillate Monitoring Program.

The EIA budget in FY 1984 was 38 percent lower than its budget in FY 1981. GAO found that, of the six programs reviewed, EEMIS was replaced and the Middle Distillate Monitoring Program was terminated. While budget reductions were not a factor in the replacement and termination of these programs, they did result in reduced data reliability in the other four programs because of reduced sample sizes, outdated survey universes, and less frequent surveys. Sample sizes were reduced for RECS and, while it has been conducted annually since 1978, EIA is now testing RECS as a biennial survey. For NBECS, EIA has: (1) not updated the sample universe; and (2) based the two surveys that have been performed on 1970 census data. EIA plans to conduct NBECS every 3 years. EIA does not perform the Industrial Energy Consumption Survey but is considering whether to conduct one in 1986. Budget reductions also affected SEDS; two forms which collected data on 40 percent of the petroleum products consumed were eliminated. In addition, the FY 1985 budget request for EIA proposed the elimination of SEDS. GAO also found that EIA replaced EEMIS with the Integrated Petroleum Supply (IPS) system. IPS, like EEMIS, stores and processes data on crude oil and petroleum supplies, but does not contain certain energy consumption and demand data formerly collected by EEMIS. Finally, GAO found that the legislation authorizing the Middle Distillate Monitoring Program expired in 1983, but EIA continues to collect certain data that were formerly collected under the program.

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