Marketers Protest EIA Northeast Surveys
If the Energy Information Agency (EIA) was envisioning a smooth
road ahead when it filed for an emergency approval from the Office
of Management and Budget for a new energy survey in the Northeast,
the agency is in for a rude awakening.
The proposed bi-weekly survey, which would allow the EIA to
study the Northeast energy market this winter, has run into
protests from the National Energy Marketers Association (NEM),
which labels it "a rulemaking in excess of EIA's statutory
authority," and therefore believes the project should be rescinded.
The association further asserts that the EIA's consideration of the
costs of compliance involved are inadequate.
EIA, which filed for an emergency approval in the Federal
Register on Dec. 26, 2000, already has funding from Congress for
the 2000-2001 winter heating surveys, which would monitor
interruptible natural gas contracts through the gathering of
information from approximately 40 natural gas suppliers, 270
petroleum product suppliers, and about 300 major energy consumers
in the interruptible contract states of Maine, New Hampshire,
Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The EIA hopes that with the information it collects pertaining
to deliveries and interruptions from gas suppliers, inventories and
switching capabilities from petroleum suppliers, and general usage
data from large customers, it will be better able to understand the
roles that interruptible service plays on commodity prices in those
NEM claims that this is the third time the EIA has attempted to
impose reporting requirements on unregulated natural gas suppliers
without statutory authority within the last year. The association
said the surveys would be "burdensome" on suppliers, and protests
that the cost to gas suppliers that have been allocated by the EIA,
are too low.
NEM said that the surveys "are a proposed rulemaking with
potentially major microeconomic and macroeconomic impacts."
Furthermore, the association believes that the most statistically
reliable sources of data are the LDCs, and suggests that the
surveys should be recast to require only LDCs to report.
EIA said that seeking emergency approval was the only method
available to ensure timely collection of information during the
2000-2001 heating season. Comments on the proposed surveys were to
be filed as of Jan. 2, 2001.
For more information on the proposed survey debate, contact
EIA's Herbert Miller via e-mail at Herbert.Miller@eia.doe.gov, or
Craig G. Goodman, president of NEM at firstname.lastname@example.org.