The federal electric power marketing agencies of the Department of Interior, two of which rank among the largest electric utilities in the nation; and
Important regulatory functions relating to the leasing of energy resources on the federally administered public lands.
A variety of other, less sweeping responsibilities and programs relating to energy were transferred to DOE from among the other departments. The formerly independent Federal Power Commission was reconstituted within the DOE as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The FERC still operates as an independent regulatory agency, but the Secretary of Energy has certain coordination and advisory authorities regarding its activities.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), which was established within the DOE, was charged with a very broad responsibility for
“…carrying out a central, comprehensive, and unified energy data and information program which will collect, evaluate, assemble, analyze, and disseminate data and information which is relevant to energy resource reserves, energy production, demand, and technology, and related economic and statistical information, or which is relevant to the adequacy of energy resources to meet demands in the near and longer term future for the Nation's economic and social needs.”
A number of special provisions were incorporated in the EIA's enabling legislation that were intended to ensure the objectivity, validity, and independence from political bias of the Administration's data and analytical results. The Administrator is required to have a professional background that qualifies him to manage an energy information system, the Secretary initially was statutorily required to delegate to the Administrator certain legislative authorities for data collection (this provision was later amended), and an annual professional audit of EIA's statistical performance is required.
The most interesting of the provisions relating to the EIA is that the Administrator is expressly granted authority to collect information, conduct analysis, and to publish reports without prior approval of “any other officer or employee of the United States with respect to the substance of any statistical or forecasting technical reports which he has prepared in accordance with law.”
In practice, of course, there are many practical constraints on such independence, not the least of which are the budgetary controls over EIA's spending. Nevertheless, the intention of the Congress, with the approval of the President upon enactment of the legislation, is clear. The EIA is expected to be a center of valid, unbiased information describing the energy situation, including objective forecasts of energy trends.
EIA also has the responsibility under the Act to furnish information and analysis to the other components of the DOE organization and to make its information and analysis available to the public subject to certain confidentiality restrictions of law. The Secretary