The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA), one of the few governmental agencies that was able to stay open during the beginning days of the shutdown because it had reserve funds, said it would cease operations and furlough its staff at the end of the day Friday.
Approximately 346 EIA federal workers were furloughed, and 215 contractors also were affected, said Thomas Williams, the EIA’s assistant administrator for resources and technology management.
On Oct. 1, the first day of the federal government shutdown, EIA spokesman Jonathan Cogan said the agency had enough funds to operate through Oct. 11, and he hoped the budget stalemate between Republicans and Democrats would be resolved by then. And while both sides on Friday appeared to be making some progress toward a settlement, a deal was not in place to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
The Associated Press and other media outlets reported Friday that a proposal that House Republicans sent Obama included ending the shutdown, increasing the debt limit and easing automatic spending cuts known as the sequester in exchange for cutting entitlement programs.
“Data releases and analyses [such as weekly storage reports] will not be published during the furlough of EIA staff,” Cogan said. However, “survey respondents, who EIA will be contacting directly, should continue to submit their data, which will be processed after the furlough period is over.”
The “EIA.gov website and our social media channel will not be updated” while staff is furloughed, Cogan said. “EIA will strive to restore service as quickly as possible after EIA reopens. The schedules for resumption of data releases and reports will be determined after the furlough period is over.”
The DOE at large and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are still operating thanks to carryover and multi-year appropriations. “We don’t know how long the funds will last. We’re open for business as usual now. When the funds run out, then only excepted employees will remain,” a Commission spokeswoman said at the start of the shutdown.
Unlike the EIA, “we don’t have a [deadline]” for when FERC funds will run out, a spokeswoman said. “We are as uncertain as everyone else.”
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