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From the staff of the AEA Committee on Economic Statistics:
 
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) invites comments on its proposed changes to the 2020 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) Household Survey. Proposed Household Survey instrument additions, revisions, and deletions are described in detail at  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/11/20/2019-25077/agency-information-collection-extension
 
Highlights:
 
EIA anticipates collecting 2020 RECS Household Survey responses for approximately 20,000 households. With a larger sample, EIA will produce more precise estimates for key energy metrics, as well as produce some estimates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

EIA proposes to update the Household Survey to collect information on emerging technologies, traditional energy-consuming devices, and update some questions to improve data quality. EIA is proposing the following questionnaire updates based on changes in the residential housing market and stakeholder feedback. The new questions that are added reflect EIA's effort to collect the most relevant information necessary to estimate household energy use and to inform energy end-use modeling. The revised questions also improve response quality, minimize reporting burden, and reflect changes in technology. Questions were removed that had poor response quality from the last collection or where data are now available from alternative sources.  
 
Two examples of proposed additions:  
 
Add a series of questions to collect plug-in, all-electric, hybrid vehicle charging infrastructure and charging behavior. Plug-in electric vehicles are an emerging technology that can significantly impact a household's electricity consumption. These additional questions about charging behavior (e.g., how often and where the household charges) and the type of plug being used to charge (e.g., Level 1 or Level 2) will improve EIA's analysis of the impact of electric vehicle charging on household energy use.
 
Add additional questions to collect smart devices in homes. A key topic in household energy use is the proliferation of internet-connected or “smart” devices in homes (e.g., smart speakers, security systems, doorbells, sprinkler systems). Understanding the market penetration of these devices, individually and collectively, will improve EIA's analysis and consumption estimates of household miscellaneous electric loads, or MELs.
 
Example of proposed deletion:
 
Delete all Energy Star questions. EIA comparisons of 2009 and 2015 RECS Energy Star responses with Energy Star appliance shipment data show that RECS respondents have difficulty identifying whether their appliances are Energy Star certified. These data quality issues, as well as data availability via alternative sources, warrants removal of these items from the RECS Household Survey.
 
Comments are due to EIA by January 21, 2020.

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