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Notice

Information Collection Request Extension Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction Act

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AGENCY:

Western Area Power Administration, U.S. Department of Energy.

ACTION:

Notice of Extension under the Paperwork Reduction Act Submitted to OMB for Approval; Request for Comments.

SUMMARY:

This notice announces that Western Area Power Administration (Western), an agency within the Department of Energy (DOE), has submitted an extension to an existing Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, comment and approval as required under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.[1] The ICR Western seeks to extend its Applicant Profile Data form (APD). The ICR described below identifies the proposal, including the anticipated public burdens. On April 6, 2011, Western published a notice in the Federal Register inviting public comments on the extension of its existing ICR.[2] That notice provided a 60-day comment period. Western included a summary of the comments and responses below. Western now Start Printed Page 49765invites interested entities to submit comments to OMB.

Western is collecting and will continue to collect the data under its APD to properly perform its function of marketing a limited amount of Federal hydropower. Western will use the collected data to evaluate who will receive an allocation of Federal power.

Western notes the Paperwork Reduction Act and associated Federal Register notice is a process whereby Western obtains approval from OMB to collect information from the public. It is a legal requirement Western must comply with before requesting potential preference customers to submit an application for power. The Paperwork Reduction Act is not the process where interested parties request an allocation of Federal power. The allocation of power from Western is outside the scope of this process and is completed in a separate process by each Western region, when required.

DATES:

To ensure consideration, comments regarding this collection must be received on or before September 12, 2011. The Paperwork Reduction Act requires OMB to make a decision on the extension of the ICR within 60 days after this publication or receipt of the proposed collection of information, whichever is later.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments should be sent to: The DOE Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10102, 735 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503.

With a copy to Western at: PRAcomments@wapa.gov or Western Area Power Administration, Ronald Klinefelter, 12155 W. Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, CO 80228.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Requests for additional information or copies of the APD and instructions should be directed to Western Area Power Administration, Ronald Klinefelter, (720) 962-7010.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Statutory Authority

Reclamation Laws rose from the Desert Land Act of 1872 and include, but are not limited to: the Desert Land Act of 1872, Reclamation Act of 1902, Reclamation Project Act of 1939, and the Acts authorizing each individual project such as the Central Valley Project Authorizing Act of 1937.[3] The Reclamation Act of 1902 established the Federal reclamation program.[4] The basic principle of the Reclamation Act of 1902 was the United States, through the Secretary of the Interior, would build and operate irrigation works from the proceeds of public land sales in the 16 arid Western states (a 17th was added later). The Reclamation Project Act of 1939 expanded the purposes of the reclamation program and specified certain terms for the Interior's water and power contracts.[5] Congress enacted the Reclamation Laws to enhance navigation and flood protection, reclaim arid lands in the western United States, and protect fish and wildlife.[6] Congress, generally, intended the production of power to be a supplemental feature of the multi-purpose water projects authorized under the Reclamation Laws.[7] No contract entered into by the United States for power may impair the irrigation purposes.[8] Section 5 of the Flood Control Act of 1944 is read in pari materia with Reclamation Laws.[9] In 1977, the Department of Energy Organization Act transferred the power marketing functions from the Department of the Interior to Western.[10] Pursuant to this authority, Western markets Federal hydropower. As part of Western's marketing authority, Western needs to obtain information from interested entities who desire an allocation of Federal power. The Paperwork Reduction Act requires Western to obtain a clearance from OMB before collecting certain information.[11]

II. Background

Western is a Federal agency under DOE that markets and transmits wholesale electric power from 56 Federal hydropower plants and one coal-fired plant. Western sells about 40 percent of regional hydroelectric generation in a service area that covers 1.3 million square miles in 15 states.[12] To deliver this electric power to the western half of the United States, Western markets and transmits about 10,000 megawatts of hydropower across an integrated 17,000-circuit mile, high voltage transmission system. Western's statutorily defined preference customers include municipalities, cooperatives, public utility and irrigation districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native American Tribes.[13] These customers, in turn, provide retail electric service to millions of consumers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

As part of its marketing mission, Western needs to continue to collect information contained in the APD from entities that may be interested in obtaining a power allocation from Western. Western is submitting this extension with the accompanying ICR to OMB with this notice.[14] Western has analyzed and responded to all comments received through this process. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, Western is now publishing a notice of its submittal to OMB and providing a second opportunity to comment.[15] Such comments should be sent directly to OMB with a copy to Western at the addresses listed above.

III. Process

A. Background

On April 6, 2011, in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, Western published a notice in the Federal Register inviting comments on extending Western's APD.[16] As part of that notice, in particular, Western invited comments on: (1) Whether the proposed continued collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Western provided notice that the proposed APD will not be part of a system of records covered by the Start Printed Page 49766Privacy Act [17] and will be available under the Freedom of Information Act.[18]

In April 2011, Western published a copy of the Federal Register notice and an invitation for comments on its Web site.[19] Western sent a notice to over 850 potentially interested entities and customer groups, informing them of the publication of the Federal Register notice and invitational comments. This notice took the form of an e-mail from Western's Regional Offices located in California, Arizona, Montana, Colorado and Utah. The notices were sent to stakeholders in Western's service territory, which includes, but is not limited to, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Texas, North Dakota and South Dakota. Western received one comment letter. Western's responses to the comments are below.

B. Response to Comments

Comment: The comment supports the continued use of the APD and sees no reason its use should not be extended beyond September 30, 2011.

Response: Western agrees the APD should be extended.

Comment: The comment raised a concern about the Federal Register notice. In particular, while the commenter understands that in drafting Federal Register notices brevity sometimes begets generalities, the commenter requested that in future Federal Register notices Western be more descriptive and provide a more accurate representation of Reclamation Law rather than general statements.

Response: Western appreciates the commenter's point that individual projects have unique attributes defined by specific legislation. Reclamation Laws are not a single act, but rather are comprised of numerous acts for multiple projects. The Department of the Interior has a publication that spans five volumes and two supplements annotating Reclamation Laws.[20] Within the confines of a Federal Register notice for the Paperwork Reduction Act, it would be impractical to delve into the nuances of provisions contained in multiple acts for multiple projects located within Western's service region. As stated in the 60-day Federal Register notice, Reclamation Laws are a series of laws arising from the Desert Land Act of 1872 and include but are not limited to: the Desert Land Act of 1872, Reclamation Act of 1902, Reclamation Project Act of 1939, and the acts authorizing each individual project, such as the Central Valley Project (CVP) Reauthorizing Act of 1937.[21] Each project also may be comprised of additional components. Given the APD spans all of Western's regions and its multiple projects, Western's Federal Register notice was necessarily of wide applicability. Furthermore, for a Paperwork Reduction Act process, given the sheer volume of Reclamation Laws, it is impractical to identify the statutory authority for each and every project and each and every project component. Western has included and will continue to include phrases such as “including,” “but not limited to,” and “for instance” in future Federal Register notices that have general applicability to the multiple projects throughout Western's regions.

Comment: The comment also mentioned concerns regarding the potential impact general statutory references in this proceeding could have on pending legislation related to the remarketing of the Boulder Canyon Project in the United States Congress.

Response: As mentioned in the response above, Western believes use of general statutory references is necessary in this Federal Register notice given the broad applicability of the APD. The Boulder Canyon Project remarketing effort is outside the scope of this process and any concerns about the impact of general statutory references of this Federal Register's process should be addressed in that proceeding.

IV. Purpose of Proposed Collection

The APD is necessary for the proper performance of Western's functions. Western markets a limited amount of Federal power. Western has discretion to determine who will receive an allocation. Due to the high demand for Western's power and limited amount of available power, Western needs to be able to collect information to evaluate who will receive an allocation. As a result, the information Western collects is both necessary and useful.

This public process only determines what type of information Western will collect in the APD from an entity applying for a Federal power allocation. The information Western proposes to collect is voluntary. Western will use the information collected in the APD (and has used the information collected under the current OMB-approved control number), in conjunction with its marketing plan, to determine an entity's eligibility and, ultimately, who will receive an allocation of Federal power. Western will issue a Call for Applications as part of its marketing plan, which will occur through a separate process. The actual allocation of power is outside the scope of this proceeding.

V. Information Western Proposes To Continue To Collect

A. Applicant Profile Data (APD)

Western has submitted to OMB the request to extend Western's APD. As part of this process, Western has identified what it believes is the minimum amount of information Western needs for its regional offices to properly perform the functions of the agency. Due to the variations that may develop in each region, the region, through its marketing plan, may determine that it does not need all of the information contained in the APD. As a result, Western proposes to allow each region to use subsets of the form, where one region's APD may request less information than another region's APD. Rather than over collect unnecessary information, Western seeks to collect only the minimal amount of information it needs. Western evaluated the possibility of using the same APD form but instructing applicants to fill out only certain sections. This approach could lead to an applicant ignoring or misunderstanding Western's instructions and providing unnecessary information. Using a subset of information will lead to a more consistent process and will minimize the time an applicant uses to complete the APD.

To receive an allocation of Federal power from Western, the applicant must provide the information requested in the APD. If the requested information is not applicable or is not available, the applicant will note it on the APD. Western will request, in writing, additional information from any applicant whose application is deficient. Western will notify the applicant when the application is due. In the event an applicant fails to provide sufficient information to allow Western to make a determination regarding eligibility by the due date, the application will not be considered.

B. Form of APD

A copy of the APD is available on Western's Web site at http://www.wapa.gov. Start Printed Page 49767

VI. Paperwork Reduction Requirements

A. Introduction

1. OMB Number: Western's existing OMB Number is 1910-5136. This number is displayed on the front page of the APD. It expires on September 30, 2011.

2. Title: Applicant Profile Data.

3. Type of Review: Western is seeking to extend its APD for 3 years.

4. Purpose: The APD is necessary for the proper performance of Western's functions. Western markets a limited amount of Federal power. Western has discretion to determine who will receive an allocation. Due to the high demand for Western's power and limited amount of available power under established marketing plans, Western needs to be able to collect information to evaluate who will receive an allocation. As a result, the information Western collects is both necessary and useful. This public process only determines the information Western will collect in its application. The actual allocation of Federal power will be done through a separate process and is outside the scope of this proceeding.

5. Respondent: The response is voluntary. However, if an entity seeks an allocation of Federal power, the applicant must submit an APD. Western has identified the following class of respondents as the most likely to apply: municipalities, cooperatives, public utilities, irrigation districts, Native American Tribes, and Federal and State agencies. The respondents will be located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

6. Estimated Number of Respondents. Depending on the amount of power that becomes available for allocation, Western anticipates it could receive approximately 100 requests for power during the 3-year period when the OMB Clearance Number is in effect. Western does not anticipate annual responses. The responses will be periodic and occur when Western has power available under an allocation process.

7. Number of Burden Hours:

a. Initial Application: Western anticipates that it will take less than 8 hours to complete the APD. Once the respondent completes the APD, it will submit the APD to Western for Western's review. After submitting the APD, provided the APD is complete and no clarification is required, Western does not anticipate requiring any further information for the APD from the applicant, unless the applicant is successful in obtaining a power allocation. The applicant submits only one APD. It does not submit an APD every year. If the applicant receives a power allocation, the applicant will need to complete a standard contract to receive its power allocation. Western's standard contract terms are outside the scope of this process.

b. Recordkeeping: There is no mandatory recordkeeping requirement on the applicant if it does not receive an allocation of Federal power. In such case, any recordkeeping of the APD by a respondent is voluntary. For those entities that receive a Federal power allocation, Western requires the successful applicant keep the information for 3 years after the applicant signs its Federal power contract. The 3-year, record retention policy will allow Western sufficient time to administer the contract and to ensure the applicant provided factual information in its application. A 3-year record retention policy will have little impact on most businesses in the electric utility industry. Western anticipates that it would take less than 1 hour per successful candidate, per year, for recordkeeping purposes. Western anticipates that in a 3-year period, Western will have approximately 30 successful applicants.

c. Methodology: Based on the total number of burden hours and the total number of applications described above, Western expects that over a 3-year period, the total burden hours to complete the APD is 800 hours (100 applicants over 3 years × 8 hours per applicant). This converts to an annual hourly burden of 266.667 hours. An entity will only complete the APD once. It is not required each year.

Based on the above, Western anticipates that there will be additional cost burdens for recordkeeping of 1 hour per year for each who receives a Federal power allocation. Western anticipates that over the course of 3 years there will be 30 successful applicants. The power may be allocated in year 1, year 2 or year 3. For the purposes of determining the cost burden, Western will presume all 30 applicants received an allocation in year 1. As a result, the annual hourly burden for recordkeeping is 30 hours.

For the purposes of this cost burden analysis, Western is assuming that a utility staff specialist will complete the APD. Western estimates a utility staff specialist rate, including administrative overhead, to be approximately $108/hour. For recordkeeping, Western estimates an administrative support rate of $54/hour. Based on the above, Western estimates the total annual cost as (266.667 hour/year × $108/hour) + (30 hour/year × $54/hour) = $30,420.00 per year.

Using the above estimates, on a per applicant basis, assuming the applicant receives a Federal power allocation, the total cost for the applicant over a 3-year period is $1026. The cost to complete the APD is a onetime cost of $864. In addition to the onetime cost, the applicant, if it successfully receives a power allocation, will incur an additional expense of 1 hour for recordkeeping per year × $54 per hour for a total recordkeeping cost of $162 for 3 years.

d. Summary of Burdens:

Table 1—Annual Hour Burden Estimates

ActivityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden hour per responseSub-total burden hours
APD33.33318266.67
Recordkeeping301130.00
Total Burden296.67
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Table 2—Annual Cost Burden Estimate

InstrumentNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage annual burden hourCost per burden hourCost per responseSub-total cost
Prepare APD33.33318$108$864.00$28,800
Recordkeeping30115454.001,620.00
Total Cost30,420

The procedure and process for the allocation of power shall be the subject matter of a separate notice and is outside the scope of this process.

B. Does the collection of data avoid unnecessary duplication?

To avoid unnecessary duplication, only entities that desire a new Western allocation are required to submit an APD.

As it relates to each of the components of the APD, there is no duplication. Section 1 is information Western needs to determine who the applicant is, whether the applicant is a statutorily-defined preference entity, and whether the applicant is ready, willing, and able to receive and/or distribute Federal power. Section 2 identifies the amount of Federal power that the applicant requests. Section 3 identifies the applicant's loads. Section 4 identifies the applicant's resources. Section 5 identifies the applicant's transmission delivery arrangements necessary to receive Federal power. Section 6 is voluntary and provides the applicant with the ability to provide any additional information. Section 7 is an attestation that the information provided is true and accurate to the best of the applicant's knowledge.

C. Does the collection reduce the burden on the respondent, including small entities, to the extent practicable and appropriate?

The information requested is the minimum amount of information to determine whether the applicant qualifies as a statutorily-defined preference entity and is ready, willing, and able to receive an allocation of Federal power.

D. Does the collection use plain, coherent, and unambiguous language that is understandable to the respondent?

The collection uses plain, coherent, and unambiguous language that is understandable to the target audience. The terms are those used in the electric utility industry. Western does not market power to individual members of the public such as homeowners or shopkeepers. Preference entities are statutorily-designated potential customers who generally are involved in the power business. As a result, the language used in the application is understandable to the target audience.

E. Is the collection consistent with and compatible with the respondent's current reporting and recordkeeping practices to the maximum extent practicable?

The information collection is voluntary. Western will use the information to determine whether an applicant qualifies as a preference entity to receive an allocation of Federal power. As discussed above, there is no mandatory recordkeeping requirement on the applicant if it does not receive an allocation of Federal power. For those entities that receive a Federal power allocation, Western requires that they keep the information for 3 years after Western grants the power allocation and the applicant signs a Federal power contract. The proposed 3-year record retention policy for such applicants would allow Western sufficient time to administer the contract and to ensure the applicant provided factual information in its application. Western anticipates that a 3-year record retention policy will have little impact on most businesses in the power industry who will keep the APD as part of their normal business records. The procedure and process for the allocation of power shall be the subject matter of a separate notice and is outside the scope of this process.

F. Does the collection indicate the retention period for any recordkeeping requirements for the respondent?

The APD identifies that there is no recordkeeping requirement for the respondent if it does not receive an allocation of Federal power. It also identifies that applicants who receive an allocation of Federal power must retain the records for 3 years.

G. Does the collection inform the public of the information the public needs to exercise scrutiny concerning the agency need to collect information (the reasons the information is collected, the way it is used, an estimate of the burden, whether the response is voluntary, required to obtain a benefit, or mandatory and a statement that no person is required to respond unless a valid OMB control number is displayed)?

If an entity desires a Federal power allocation from Western, Western needs certain information to determine whether the entity is eligible to receive power. Western has a limited amount of power available. Western uses its discretion in allocating power. In order to use its discretion in allocating power, Western will use the information collected on the application. Western will not accept incomplete applications. Western will work with Native American Tribes and other entities that may need assistance in completing the application. No person is required to submit any information unless a valid OMB control number is displayed. No person is required to submit any information unless they desire a Federal power allocation.

H. Is the collection developed by an office that has planned and allocated resources for the efficient and effective management and use of the information collected?

Western's power marketing offices will administer and evaluate the applications. Use and management of the collected information has been factored into each office's functions and resource requirements. Historically, Western has requested the same relative information from applicants and effectively used Western resources to utilize and manage the information in its determinations. Each power marketing office will make a recommendation to Western's Administrator on which applicant(s) should be awarded a Federal power allocation based on the information contained in the APD. Western's Administrator shall use his discretion in the final power allocations. The Start Printed Page 49769procedure and process for the allocation of power shall be the subject matter of a separate notice and is outside the scope of this process.

I. Does the collection use effective and efficient statistical survey methods?

Since the information collected is used to determine whether an applicant receives an allocation of Federal power, this section is inapplicable.

J. Does the collection use information technology to the maximum extent practicable to reduce the burden and to improve data quality, agency efficiency, and responsiveness to the public?

The APD will be accessible for downloading via Western's Web site. Western will accept electronic-mail submission of the APD, as well as submission via fax or regular mail. At this time, applicants cannot enter the information on Western's Web site; however, Western is in the process of developing an online form.

VII. Invitation for Comments

Western invites public comment on its request to extend its APD that Western submitted to OMB pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The Paperwork Reduction Act requires OMB to make a decision on the ICR within 60 days after this publication or receipt of the proposed collection of information, whichever is later.[22] Comments should be sent directly to the addresses listed in the ADDRESSES section above.

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Issued in Lakewood, CO on August 4, 2011.

Timothy J. Meeks,

Administrator.

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Footnotes

3.  See Ch. 107, 19 Stat. 377 (1872), Ch. 1093, 32 Stat. 388 (1902), Ch, 418, 53 Stat. 1187 (1939), Ch. 832, 50 Stat. 844, 850 (1937), all as amended and supplemented.

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4.  See Ch. 1093, 32 Stat. 388 (1902), as amended and supplemented.

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5.  See Ch. 418, 53 Stat. 1187 (1939), as amended and supplemented.

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6.  See, e.g., Ch. 832, 50 Stat. 844, 850 (1937), as amended and supplemented.

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7.  See, e.g., Ch. 832, 50 Stat. 844, 850 (1937), as amended and supplemented.

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9.  See Ch. 665, 58 Stat. 887 (1944), as amended and supplemented.

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10.  See 42 U.S.C. 7152(a)(1)(E).

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12.  Western markets power under marketing plans developed through its offices: the Rocky Mountain Region, Upper Great Plains Region, Rocky Mountain Region, Sierra Nevada Region and the Colorado River Storage Project Management Center (Regions).

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13.  See, e.g., 43 U.S.C. 485h(c).

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16.  See 76 FR 19067 (2011).

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18.  See 5 U.S.C. 552. Western reserves the right to redact information to protect confidential or sensitive information, as provided under FOIA.

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19.  See 76 FR 19067 (2011).

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20.  See Federal Reclamation and Related Laws Annotated, (1972), as supplemented (2001).

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21.  See Ch. 107, 19 stat. 377 (1872), Ch. 1093, 32 Stat. 388 (1902), Ch, 418, 53 Stat. 1187 (1939), ch. 832, 50 Stat. 844, 850 (1937), all as amended and supplemented.

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[FR Doc. 2011-20400 Filed 8-10-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6450-01-P