National Energy Data Collection: Do’s and Don’ts UN City Group Oslo, Norway February 7, 2006
Goals for today’s presentation • Who is EIA? • What kinds of data do we collect? • Who uses our data? • What are our key products? • Share experience from EIA’s 29 years of energy data collection on the United States • What works well? • What does not work well? • What challenges do we face?
Who we are • EIA was established by the Department of Energy Organization Act, 1977 • Independent since its foundation • 369 federal employees and about 250 contractors • $85 million budget (2006)
What data we collect • EIA has about 80 surveys • Petroleum (about 30) • Natural gas (about 15) • Electric power (about 15) • Uranium (8) • Coal (7) • Renewables (3) • Consumption (3) • Green house gases (2) • Finance, alternative fuels (1 each)
Who uses our work? • Government policy makers • Executive branch • Legislative branch • International community • Energy industry participants • Public
What we produce • Four main kinds of energy products: • Data • Analyses • Forecasts • Descriptive information about products
Good Practices for Statistical Agencies • Do continually review data and analysis programs to assess coverage and relevancy • Do conduct outreach with customers to obtain feedback on quality and timeliness of products • Do keep current with the technology to both collect and disseminate data • Do commit to transparency in terms of methods, documentation, and accuracy • Do employ high quality statisticians, economists, survey experts
Good Practices for Survey Design • Detailed understanding of what questions data need to address • Minimizing respondent burden • Using focus groups to decide what data to collect • Conducting site visits; establish points of contact and develop rapport with responders • Use professional statisticians and survey methodologists • Pre-test questionnaires • Automate where possible • Commit to iterative process that allows for constant improvement
A survey success story • In 1990-1991, the U.S. Government wanted a snapshot of nationwide gasoline and diesel prices, as close to real-time as possible • With clear goal, EIA pondered how to get at this information • Result: same day information, within 1% accuracy, at one of the lowest costs of any survey conducted by EIA, now 15+ years running
Responses • Good response rates require lots of follow up • Follow up takes 2-3 times as much time and effort as the original survey • This is why you made those personal contacts • Decide what level of accuracy you require • Ask whether the non-responders would change the results of your survey • If response is not mandatory, is there something you can give back to participants?
Current challenges • Maintaining industry coverage • Keeping pace with rapid industry change • Addressing recruitment as current work force retires • Increasing concerns about confidentiality and response burden
Contact information • Tara Billingsley 202-586-0172 email@example.com • National Energy Information Center 202-586-8800 firstname.lastname@example.org