[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 60 (Wednesday, March 28, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18799-18801]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7424]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

U.S. Energy Information Administration


Proposed Agency Information Collection

AGENCY: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Department of 
Energy (DOE).

ACTION: Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Information 
Collection; Notice and Request for Comments.

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SUMMARY: The EIA invites public comment on a proposed collection of 
information that EIA is developing for submission to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995. The EIA is soliciting comments on the proposed reinstatement of 
the Forms EIA-871A-J, ``2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption 
Survey.''
    The Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-275, 15 
U.S.C. 761 et seq.) and the DOE Organization Act (Pub. L. 95-91, 42 
U.S.C. 7101 et seq.) require the EIA to carry out a centralized, 
comprehensive, and unified energy information program. This program 
collects, evaluates, assembles, analyzes, and disseminates information 
on energy resource reserves, production, demand, technology, and 
related economic and statistical information. This information is used 
to assess the adequacy of energy resources to meet near and longer-term 
domestic demands.
    The EIA, as part of its effort to comply with the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), provides 
the general public and other Federal agencies with opportunities to 
comment on collections of energy information conducted by or in 
conjunction with the EIA. Any comments received help the EIA to prepare 
data requests that maximize the utility of the information collected, 
and to assess the impact of collection requirements on the public. 
Also, the EIA will later seek approval by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) under Section 3507(a) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995.
    The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) has been 
conducted nine times covering the years 1979, 1983 and 1986 under the 
name of the ``Nonresidential Buildings Energy Consumption Survey,'' and 
years 1989, 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007 under the current name, 
``Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.'' CBECS collects 
baseline data on energy consumption and expenditures in commercial 
buildings, and on the energy-related characteristics of those 
buildings. To obtain this information, interviews are conducted for a 
sample of commercial buildings representing the 50 States and the 
District of Columbia. For buildings in the survey, data are collected 
on the types, amount and cost of energy consumed in the building, how 
the energy is used, structural characteristics of the buildings, 
activities conducted inside the buildings that relate to energy use, 
building ownership and occupancy, energy conservation measures, and 
energy-using equipment. The information will be collected using 
computer assisted interviewing for the 2012 CBECS; interviews will be 
conducted both in-person and by telephone. For those buildings that 
cannot provide energy consumption data for the building, the data will 
be obtained in a follow-up survey (historically a mail survey) from the 
suppliers of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and/or district heat to 
the building, after receiving permission from the building owner, 
manager or tenant. This survey to the energy suppliers is mandatory. 
The data obtained from the CBECS are available to the public in a 
variety of EIA electronic tables and reports at http://www.eia.gov/emeu/cbecs. Public use files that have been screened to protect the 
identity of the individual respondents are also available 
electronically at the above web address. Selected data from the surveys

[[Page 18800]]

are also published in the Annual Energy Review.

DATES: Comments regarding this proposed information collection must be 
received on or before May 29, 2012. If you anticipate difficulty in 
submitting comments within that period, contact the person listed in 
ADDRESSES below as soon as possible.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Joelle Michaels. To ensure receipt of the 
comments by the due date, submission by email is recommended 
(joelle.michaels@eia.gov). Comments may also be submitted by mail to 
Joelle Michaels, Survey Manager, EI-22, Forrestal Building, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585. Alternatively, Ms. Michaels 
may be contacted by telephone at (202) 586-8952.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or 
copies of the forms and instructions should be directed to Ms. Michaels 
at the contact information given above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This information collection contains:
    (1) OMB No. 1905-0145.
    (2) Information Collection Request Title: EIA-871A-J, ``Commercial 
Building Energy Consumption Survey''.
    (3) Type of Request: Reinstatement with change, of a previously 
approved collection for which approval has discontinued.
    (4) Purpose: Need for and proposed use of the information: The EIA-
871A-J is used to collect data on energy consumption by commercial 
buildings and the characteristics of these buildings. The surveys 
fulfill planning, analyses and decision-making needs of DOE, other 
Federal agencies, State governments, and the private sector. 
Respondents are owners/managers of selected commercial buildings and 
their energy suppliers. Response obligations are Voluntary (buildings) 
and Mandatory (energy suppliers).
    This will be a proposed reinstatement of a previously approved 
collection and three-year clearance request to OMB. The content of the 
2012 CBECS will be largely unchanged from the 2007 CBECS. The sampling 
frame, which was redesigned for the 2003 CBECS, will be updated to 
account for new construction since 2003.
    The EIA proposes the following changes to EIA-871A-J, ``Commercial 
Building Energy Consumption Survey'':
    a. The sample size for the 2012 CBECS will be 50 percent larger 
relative to the previous CBECS. The increase in sample size will allow 
for fewer cell suppressions in published tables, better capture of 
emerging energy phenomena, lower relative standard errors (RSEs) for 
key statistics for publishable sample domains, more publishable data 
for more principal building activities, and more releasable microdata 
on the public use dataset.
    b. Previous CBECS designs have relied on in-person personal 
interviews for data collection. In 2007, field interviewers needed an 
average of six contacts to complete a building interview; this process 
can be time-consuming and costly when done in-person. For 2012, certain 
respondents (large buildings for which contact information is usually 
available) will be initially contacted by telephone. All respondents 
will be given the option to complete the interview by phone. The 
balance of interviews will remain personal interviews.
    c. Water usage questions introduced in the 2007 will be revised and 
remain in the 2012 CBECS. The Office of Wastewater Management within 
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsored questions 
related to water use on the 2007 CBECS. The water-energy use 
connections are strong, and there is limited data about how water is 
actually used in commercial buildings. Getting better information on 
how water is used by commercial buildings is the first step toward 
understanding commercial water use and the energy impact of that use. 
The revisions to the water questions are based on extensive review by 
EIA on the data that were collected in 2007. The proposed changes will 
make the interview proceed more smoothly through the water questions 
and result in cleaner data.
    d. Based upon a recommendation from the National Academy of 
Sciences, approximately 200 buildings will receive an ``energy audit.'' 
The main objective will be to support a cost and data quality 
comparison between data collected by field interviewers and 
professional energy auditors.
    e. Based on review of the 2007 CBECS and consultation with data 
users, refining and reformatting of the Building Questionnaire (Form 
EIA-871A), Mall Building Questionnaire (EIA-871I) and the Mall 
Establishment Questionnaire (EIA-871J) is occurring. Some changes have 
been made already, and more are expected. For the 2012 CBECS 
questionnaire, wording changes will be made, clarifying definitions 
will be added, and response categories will be refined. Edits will be 
added to the survey instrument to help preclude call-backs to 
respondents.
    (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 5,142.
    (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 5,142.
    (7) Annual Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 3,759.
    (8) Annual Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Cost Burden: $0. 
There are no additional costs to respondents associated with the survey 
other than the costs associated with the burden hours.

Request for Comments

    Prospective respondents and other interested parties should comment 
on the actions discussed in item (4). The following guidelines are 
provided to assist in the preparation of comments. Please indicate to 
which form(s) your comments apply.

General Issues

    A. Is the proposed collection of information necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the agency and does the 
information have practical utility? Practical utility is defined as the 
actual usefulness of information to or for an agency, taking into 
account its accuracy, adequacy, reliability, timeliness, and the 
agency's ability to process the information it collects.
    B. What enhancements can be made to the quality, utility, and 
clarity of the information to be collected?

As a Potential Respondent to the Request for Information

    A. What actions could be taken to help ensure and maximize the 
quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information to be 
collected?
    B. Are the instructions and definitions clear and sufficient? If 
not, which instructions need clarification?
    C. Can the information be submitted by the due date?
    D. Public reporting burden for this collection is estimated to 
average approximately 55 minutes per interview for the building 
respondent (Form EIA-871A), 25 minutes per interview for the mall 
building respondent (Form EIA-871I), 45 minutes per interview for the 
mall establishment respondent (Form EIA-871A), and approximately 30 
minutes per energy supplier response in those cases where the data must 
be collected from the energy suppliers (Forms EIA-871C-F). The 
estimated burden includes the total time necessary to provide the 
requested information. In your opinion, how accurate is this estimate?
    E. The agency estimates that the only cost to a respondent is for 
the time it will take to complete the collection. Will a respondent 
incur any start-up costs for reporting, or any recurring

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annual costs for operation, maintenance, and purchase of services 
associated with the information collection?
    F. What additional actions could be taken to minimize the burden of 
this collection of information? Such actions may involve the use of 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology.
    G. Does any other Federal, State, or local agency collect similar 
information? If so, specify the agency, the data element(s), and the 
methods of collection.

As a Potential User of the Information To Be Collected

    A. What actions could be taken to help ensure and maximize the 
quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information 
disseminated?
    B. Is the information useful at the levels of detail to be 
collected?
    C. For what purpose(s) would the information be used? Be specific.
    D. Are there alternate sources for the information and are they 
useful? If so, what are their weaknesses and/or strengths?
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the form. They will 
also become a matter of public record.

    Statutory Authority:  Section 13(b) of the Federal Energy 
Administration Act of 1974, Public Law 93-275, codified at 15 U.S.C. 
772(b).

    Issued in Washington, DC, March 22, 2012.
Renee Miller,
Acting Director, Office of Survey Development and Statistical 
Integration, U.S. Energy Information Administration.
[FR Doc. 2012-7424 Filed 3-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P