Monthly Electricity Supply and Disposition Survey

Background

In 2010, Statistics Canada launched the Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP) to provide a more efficient model for producing economic statistics. The main objective was to enhance the economic statistics program so that it remains as robust and flexible as possible while reducing the burden on business respondents.

The IBSP encompasses around 60 surveys covering four major sectors: manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, services (including culture) and capital expenditures. By 2019/2020, the IBSP will include roughly 150 economic surveys covering all sectors of economic statistics. The list of surveys currently included in IBSP is available online.

The program changes ensure that Statistics Canada will continue to produce a consistent and coherent set of economic statistics. As well, data users and researchers can more easily combine economic data with information from other sources to undertake their analyses.

The IBSP uses a standardized approach for economic surveys conducted at Statistics Canada. This framework involves:

  • Using a common Business Register as the unique frame
  • Maximizing the use of administrative information to reduce business response burden
  • Using electronic questionnaires as the principal mode of collection
  • Harmonizing concepts and questionnaire content
  • Adopting common sampling, collection and processing methodologies

What are some of the more significant changes?

  • A new approach to sampling ensures businesses will only be asked those questions that are pertinent to their operations. This creates a win-win situation for Statistics Canada and respondents. Statistics Canada reduces the collection effort and has a greater likelihood of collecting the information it requires to produce official statistics relevant to Canadians. It also reduces the time needed by respondents to complete their business surveys.
  • Increased use of administrative data reduces business response burden. Administrative data files (such as corporate income tax files) have been used extensively as a direct substitute for a sub-set of sampled units and for imputation of non-response. In the transition to the IBSP model, imputation methods were adapted to take full advantage of the availability of administrative data. This resulted in additional response burden reductions across survey programs. The majority of sampled businesses are no longer required to provide data for revenue and expense information that is available from tax data. The IBSP questionnaires are designed to collect information that is not available from administrative data files, such as commodities produced and business practices.
  • A new coherent approach to developing provincial/territorial estimates uses existing information on Statistics Canada's business register to determine provincial/territorial shares of revenues, expenses and value added. This ensures a coherent and standardized approach that is consistent across all IBSP surveys. Previously, these data were collected directly from each respondent, contributing to response burden.
  • Electronic questionnaires are now the primary mode to collect data from business respondents. Businesses complete surveys using a secure online application. The result is a more efficient and higher quality collection process. In addition, the quality of survey statistics may improve because electronic questionnaires have built-in checks designed to limit reporting errors that can occur with paper-based questionnaires.
  • Increased coverage of the business population results in a more comprehensive set of business statistics. Beginning in reference year 2013, the population covered by the suite of annual economic survey programs increased to include all firms regardless of their size. In previous years, relatively small businesses (based on their sales) were not included in Statistics Canada's central business frame. However, with new self-coding technology, it became possible to classify all businesses operating in the Canadian economy onto the central business frame, regardless of the sales of the firm. As a result, with improved coverage of the population, the IBSP-based estimates better reflect the population of businesses operating in Canada.
  • Questionnaires have been updated to reflect the latest business terminology and accounting practices of Canadian businesses. In addition the questionnaires apply the latest standard classifications used by Statistics Canada, such as the North American Industry Classification System and the North American Product Classification System.

Does this impact the comparability of data through time?

The extent of the changes in the business statistics program introduced by the IBSP means that some series may no longer be consistent with estimates from previous periods. For example, the increase in the business population alone means that the estimates will tend to be higher than those previously published.

For some series, data changes will be small and comparisons with estimates to previous reference periods will be consistent. In other cases, the impacts can be significant, leading to breaks in the current estimates when compared to past estimates.

Recognizing the importance of data continuity, Statistics Canada will continue to use several assessment techniques in order to examine whether current estimates will be directly comparable to past estimates. Among the techniques that may be used include:

  • Evaluating survey estimates at all levels of detail (national, sub-national, NAICS)
  • Comparing estimates obtained from sub-annual surveys (where applicable)
  • Comparing tax information
  • Analysing the results for common respondents in 2012 and 2013
  • Comparing historical movements by respondent and by the industry in general

In all cases, users are aware that breaks can exist and that any comparisons with previous data should be made at their own discretion.

Once the estimates for the current reference year are available, revisions will be made to the previous year's data.

Who will use the new IBSP estimates?

  • Businesses use the estimates to better understand their performance within their given industry relative to the industry average.
  • Industry analysts and associations use the IBSP estimates to analyze the performance of given industries in the Canadian economy both nationally and regionally.
  • Federal departments and agencies, provincial ministries and authorities, the press, survey respondents, and the general public use estimates to assess trends in the Canadian economy.

The IBSP data are a main input in the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts. They are first adjusted to macroeconomic accounting concepts and definitions and are then integrated into the macroeconomic accounting frameworks. This integration involves adjusting the data to adhere to the macroeconomic accounting identities as well as ensuring consistency through time. These data are the building blocks for Statistics Canada's benchmark measure of gross domestic product and a key input into the estimates used to determine equalization payments and the allocation of harmonized sales tax revenue.

Periodically, Statistics Canada undertakes large scale changes as part of its survey renewal process. The new IBSP data will be integrated into the Macroeconomic Accounts. Although the new data may lead to some changes/revisions to the national accounts, the System of National Accounts framework ensures that the national account estimates are robust and coherent.

Have any other survey releases taken place under the new IBSP schedule?

Yes. The first survey released under IBSP was the 2013 Survey of Aquaculture that was published in the Daily on November 14, 2014. Since then, several other annual surveys have been released, and a number of monthly surveys will soon be made available.

Further Information

For a more detailed explanation of the changes, please consult the Integrated Business Statistics Program Overview on the Statistics Canada website.

More information on the technical aspects on sampling and estimation is available upon request.

For more information, contact Media Relations (613-951-4636); statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca.

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Changes to the Monthly Electricity Supply and Disposition survey

Starting January 2016, Statistics Canada will roll out a more detailed monthly survey related to the electricity industry in Canada. A breakdown of these changes is provided below.

Increased coverage

The monthly electricity supply and disposition survey will expand its industry coverage by lowering its reporting threshold from an annual generation of 20,000 MW to a total generation capacity of 500 KW for electric utilities and industrial establishments that generate and/or distribute electricity from at least one plant. The survey will also include electricity generation/distribution from utilities and companies that have at least one photovoltaic solar plant with a total generating capacity of over 100 KW.

Amalgamation of quarterly content with the monthly

Content from the Electricity Disposition – Quarterly Residential Sector survey will be directly amalgamated with the monthly electricity survey. Specifically, the questions related to residential sales of electricity, such as megawatt hours and cost.

The amalgamation will effectively reduce the number of questionnaires that respondents will have to complete in the future.  

Expanded content

In addition to the above changes, the content of the monthly electricity survey will be expanded during 2016 to provide more detailed and timelier data on the industry to end users. Among the most significant changes are expanded categories related to energy generation, as well as a geographic disposition of energy use by customers. A breakdown of these changes is as follows:

  • Energy generation types 
    • Combustible electricity generation
      • Thermal generation (fuel types – coal, natural gas, petroleum, other combustible fuels)  
      • Total biomass generation (new fuel types – wood, spent pulping liquor, methane gas, municipal and other waste) 
    • Non-combustible electricity generation
      • Wave and geothermal 
  • Electricity available for use within specific geographic borders
    • Total quantity of disposition of electricity to customers enrolled with retailers (i.e., industrial, residential and agricultural, and commercial)
    • Total quantity and value of disposition of electricity to 'end-use` customers (i.e., industrial, residential and agricultural,  and commercial)
    • Unallocated quantity of electricity
    • Total quantity of electricity used by producers

Data comparability and accessibility

The content changes to the monthly electricity survey will result in new CANSIM tables for the survey that will be introduced in late 2016. In the interim, the existing CANSIM tables 127-0002 and 127-0003 will continue to be produced but will have minor changes.

For Table 127-0002, the changes include the grouping of conventional steam turbine, internal combustion turbine and combustion turbine into one category - total electricity production from combustible fuels.

For table 127-0003, the changes include the removal of categories pertaining to total firm deliveries, total non-firm deliveries, total other deliveries to the United States and other receipts from the United States.

Despite the changes to the existing tables, they will continue to remain available beyond the 2016 reference year for historical reference purposes. Consequently, users will have to use caution when comparing the information in the existing tables with the new tables that will be published later in the year.

How can I obtain for more information on changes to the monthly electricity supply and disposition survey?

This document highlights key changes to the survey and its impacts for end users. For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this survey, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; statcan.infostats-infostats.statcan@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca).

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