591.220 How does OPM calculate energy utility cost indexes§ 591.220 How does OPM calculate energy utility cost indexes?
(a) OPM calculates energy utility cost indexes based on the relative cost of maintaining a standard size dwelling in each area at a given ambient temperature and the cost of other energy uses. Although the dwelling size may vary from one COLA survey area to another, OPM compares the utility cost for the same size dwelling in the COLA survey area and the Washington, DC, area.
(b) OPM applies the following six-step process to compute a cost index(es) for heating and cooling a standard home to a given ambient temperature and to combine the cost index(es) by energy type (e.g., electricity and natural gas) with cost indexes for other energy uses.
(1) Step 1. OPM obtains technical information about the requirements by major energy type for heating and cooling a standard size dwelling, built according to current local building practices and codes in each area, given local climatic conditions (e.g., seasonal temperature and humidity). OPM also obtains similar information for use of energy types in other household operations (e.g., hot water, cooking, cleaning, recreation).
(2) Step 2. OPM obtains from the shelter survey, a survey of Federal employees, or other appropriate sources, information on dwelling size and the types and prevalence of heating and cooling equipment and energy types (e.g., electricity, gas, and oil) in each area.
(3) Step 3. OPM computes estimates of total home energy requirements by energy type attributable to heating and cooling plus all other household energy uses for the COLA survey area and the Washington, DC, area.
(4) Step 4. OPM surveys utility prices for each major energy type appropriate to the area.
(5) Step 5. OPM combines the above data to produce for each COLA survey area the cost of maintaining the standard size dwelling at a given ambient temperature and the cost of other household energy uses.
(6) Step 6. OPM compares the COLA survey area cost with the DC area cost to produce a price index.