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How to Collect Energy Data

One of my biggest fear in the 2011 is developing ASEAN Energy Review (AER). It’s an annual publication on energy statistic in ASEAN Region. Last published is in 2008, with 1996 baseline data, during the period of AEEMTRC project who headed by Dr. Jean-Yves Garnier (now Head of Energy Statistics, IEA).

Collecting data is a monster. As what Mr. Brett Jacobs, South-East Asia Programme Manager, IEA (former Head of Australian Energy Demand Energy Statistics team) shared with me, two thing about collecting data, is a difficult and thankless task. The data respondent are all voluntary, so it’s our mandatory to make their task as easy and as rewarding as possible.

For this AER, I have to collect the data on primary energy supply, energy transformation, energy demand and consumption in the oil, gas, coal, electricity, and renewable energy sectors from 10 ASEAN Member Countries.

Lucky me, I got support from Dr. Garnier and Mr. Brett who generously share some tips about data collecting that I can resumed to all of you.

1)      Get official contacts appointed by Member countries
2)      Have a close (maybe friendly) relationship with these contacts
3)      Regular meetings of contacts greatly helps establishing strong links
4)      Limit the reporting burden to the minimum, but be firm with was is needed to do your job
5)      Have user-friendly questionnaire, clear, easy to understand, electronic (Excel or internet)
6)      Give clear instructions and deadlines and be firm on the deadlines.
7)      If people don’t answer or send data on time, explain them the Legal Framework that tasked the collecting data
8)      Give fast feedback on the quality of their submissions. Query any data point you think is wrong. Show that you use their data. For info, every year, IEA publish a Report Card to show our contacts as well as IEA policy makers the issues we found on the annual submissions of all our IEA member countries in terms of timeliness, completeness and quality. This is very effective.
9)      Prepare document based on the data received and circulate these documents to all your contacts, so they can see that their data is used.

Lot of things to do but also lot of way to do it. I hope this tips are useful for you.

Will share more during my work on AER.

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