I have written before about the information available at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) website. Their data serves as the basis for many APPA reports, and is a valuable treasure trove of information about the electric utility industry.
EIA gathers this data through a series of annual surveys conducted of utilities and other electric power entities. These surveys are approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for three year cycles. When EIA submits these forms for re-approval, the agency will often modify the survey forms, and these modifications are also subject to approval.
A new cycle is upcoming for these surveys, and EIA has published a notice in the Federal Register dated March 6, 2013. The notice can be found here. The purpose of this notification is to solicit comments about proposed changes to existing forms. Interested parties may reply by May 6, 2013 to provide feedback on whether the proposed changes are necessary, whether the burden estimate provided by EIA is accurate, ways to improve the quality and utility of the collected data, and other ways to minimize respondent burden.
EIA is proposing changes to the following forms: EIA-63B, EIA-411, EIA-826, EIA-860, EIA-860M, EIA-861, EIA-861S, and EIA-923. Additionally, EIA is proposing to create a new form, Form EIA-930, “Balancing Authority Operations Report.” This post will focus on the changes to the EIA-860, EIA-861, and EIA-923, as well as the new EIA-930.
Form EIA-860 is the Annual Electric Generator Report. The survey collects information on existing and planned generation plants. This file provides capacity data used in APPA’s Directory. One minor but helpful change is that the survey will now ask for Balancing Authority information rather than Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) or Independent System Operator (ISO) information. The survey will also ask for fuel-specific information. For example, it asks operators of coal and petroleum coke units to provide the appropriate combustion technology and steam conditions. Wind powered units must provide the predominant turbine manufacturer and turbine model number, as well as annual average wind speeds and wind quality class. There are also additional questions in the proposed form regarding the costs associated with plants under construction. Schedule 6, which deals with air emissions, has been revamped and consolidated.
Form EIA-861, the Annual Electric Power Plant Report, contains information on sales, revenue, and customers, as well as demand-side management and other data. This is the only form completed by every electric entity in the country (smaller utilities now complete Form EIA-861S). As with the EIA-860, the proposed survey would ask about Balancing Authority information rather than territory. The proposed form has also eliminated Schedule 2C – Green Pricing Information, as EIA feels that not enough entities have such programs to justify continuing to ask for this data.
The most significant changes are on Schedule 6. The demand-side management questions have been revamped. Instead of asking for annualized and incremental energy effects for energy efficiency and load management, the survey now asks for energy savings in Megawatt hours (MWh) and Peak Demand Savings in Megawatts (MW). There is also a formula for estimating life cycle savings for energy efficiency programs. Schedule 6C has a new series of questions about dynamic pricing, including the number of customers enrolled in dynamic pricing programs and the types of programs (eg real-time, critical peak pricing, time-of-use, etc.).
EIA has also proposed adding Schedules 6E and 6F to the survey. Schedule 6E asks questions pertaining to the distribution system, including the number of distribution circuits, automated switching, whether utilities have voltage/VAR control, and the amount of load served by automated distribution circuits. Schedule 6F asks for reliability information from utilities that already have software in place to track this information. EIA asks for SAIDI and SAIFI values, the percent of customers that are urban, suburban, or rural, and information about voltage.
EIA-923 is the Power Plant Operations Report. This survey collects information on generation, energy source consumption, fuel stocks, and the quality and cost of fossil fuel receipts. Schedules 3 and 5, boiler and generator information, have been combined to simplify the form. Schedule 2 has been modified to ask a couple of question related to coal quality: moisture content and chloride content. This schedule would also ask respondents to name the direct distribution gas pipeline connected to the plant as well as the major interstate pipeline serving the plant (if applicable). Schedule 8, annual environmental information, has been reconfigured to be equipment-oriented rather than emission-type oriented.
EIA-930 would be a new survey of hourly electric data from the Balancing Authorities. It would ask for hourly demand, hourly next-day demand forecast, hourly net generation, and hourly actual interchange with each interconnected Balancing Authority. According to the Federal Register notice, EIA would make the current day’s demand data available on an hourly basis and the prior day’s basic hourly electric system data available daily. The respondents will post their hourly data on a web-based portal within ten minutes of the end of the reported hour. EIA will treat all data submitted as public.
These proposed surveys, as well as others referenced above, are available at EIA’s website at this location.
Again, anyone is free to provide feedback. The deadline to do so is May 6.