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June 17 -- The Energy Information Administration (EIA) invites economists to submit comments to OMB regarding the proposed design of the 2020  Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), by July 17, 2020.
 
The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) is a quadrennial survey that collects information on energy consumption and household characteristics that relate to energy consumption. Energy suppliers report energy consumption for households in the sample. The information obtained by the RECS is used to produce estimates of energy characteristics, consumption, and expenditures in U.S. households. The RECS is comprised of a Household Survey and four Energy Supplier Surveys: Household Propane Usage, Household Electricity Usage, Household Natural Gas Usage, and Household Fuel Oil/Kerosene Usage.
 
EIA will collect 2020 RECS Household Survey responses from approximately 20,000 households. The larger sample enables EIA to 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 revise the RECS Household Survey to improve the quality of responses for traditional energy-consuming devices, collect information on changes in residential consumption patterns, and collect information on emerging technologies. The new questions collect the most relevant information necessary to estimate household energy use and to inform energy end-use modeling.  
 
For the four Energy Supplier Surveys, EIA proposes to increase the number of customer (household) billing and delivery months from 20 to 24 months. The additional four months of energy data improves the practical utility of the energy data reported and enables EIA to analyze household energy consumption patterns before, during, and after COVID-19.
 
Proposed survey question additions, revisions, and deletions are listed on pp. 4-9 of https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=101859100
 
The RECS is the only program operated by EIA that collects energy characteristics data directly from housing units. Accordingly, it is the only program that permits the cross-tabulation of energy consumption by various descriptive variables to permit a full understanding of how energy is consumed in the household sector. These relationships between consumption and descriptive variables are the basis for the publication and analytic activities associated with the RECS data.
 
The RECS data are widely used throughout the public and the private sector to benchmark residential energy demand, produce projections for future demand, develop industry standards, and assess program and technology initiatives. Public utilities, interest groups, trade associations, federal agencies, state and local governments, equipment manufacturers, media, and the general public are also major users of RECS data.
 
EIA plans to begin data collection in September 2020. The goal for the 2020 RECS is to release Housing Characteristics Results in October 2021 and  Consumption and Expenditures Results in June 2022. Detailed tables will contain energy characteristics, consumption, and expenditures for electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, propane, and wood by numerous energy-related housing characteristics. Public use data will be available on the EIA website.
 
RECS website:  https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/
EIA submission of 2020 RECS to OMB:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202006-1905-001. Click on IC List for survey forms, View Supporting Statement for narrative on uses, methods, details of proposed changes.
FR notice inviting comment:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/17/2020-13039/agency-information-collection
 
The principal EIA official directing the RECS sample design is Katie Lewis, who can be reached at (202) 586-5138 or Katie.Lewis@eia.gov. The principal EIA official directing the 2020 RECS is James (Chip) Berry, who can be reached at (202) 586-5543 or james.berry@eia.gov.
 
AEA Guide on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections: https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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