Data quality, concepts and methodology: Methodology

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Data quality and methodology

The data contained in this publication are derived primarily from energy surveys and administrative records received by Statistics Canada (STC), supplemented with data from the National Energy Board and various energy producing provinces. In general, supply data (production, inventories, trade, etc.) are taken from STC energy fuel specific surveys and disposition data as reported by the larger energy supply companies on energy disposition surveys. The companies surveyed for supply data are the producers and large distributors of petroleum products, major electric utilities (some of which consolidate information from smaller utilities that they supply), industrial electricity producers, coal mines and the natural gas utility industry. Disposition data are supplemented by data obtained from an annual survey of industrial energy consumers.

The validity of the published data is partly dependent on the ability of the responding industries to code customers in an accurate manner. However, many reporting companies, especially in the petroleum products, natural gas & electricity areas, have difficulty in determining the final consumers of the product, due to the presence of marketing agents, brokers, etc. Furthermore, the final consumer may use the purchased product in a number of different industries. As examples: an iron company which extracts and mills ore can also operate a railway system; or a company which operates cement plants can also have ready-mix concrete plants and a trucking fleet all under the same name. A further classification challenge invokes companies which have misleading names which refer to an activity not carried out by the firms or who have changed their activity and not their names.

The universes for all surveys forming the basis of this publication are characterized by very few but very large respondents. In general, no "sample" surveys of the energy producing and/or distribution industries are employed. Rather, surveys of the total universe form the basis of this publication. The exception is the Industrial Consumption of Energy Survey which surveys a sample of energy consumers primarily in the manufacturing sector. Selected energy forms used in the most energy intensive industries of the industrial sector and by electric utilities are monitored by surveying the largest establishments to verify selected data reported by the supply industries. In instances where data is available from other STC surveys, comparisons are made to ensure comparability.

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