(Bloomberg) -- The Texas Blockchain Council, an industry association for Bitcoin miners including Riot Platforms Inc., is suing the US Department of Energy’s statistics unit over a mandatory survey on their power consumption.

The inquiry by the Energy Information Administration is “an unprecedented and illegal data collection demand” against the industry, the group said in a statement dated Feb. 22. Riot, one of the largest Bitcoin miners in the state, made $71 million last year, in part from prepurchasing electricity for its operations and selling some of it back to the grid for a premium amid power shortages. 

In a response to the lawsuit, the EIA said in a court filing that it won’t enforce a requirement for the survey to be completed and will sequester data already collected. 

Bitcoin miners accounted for as much as 2.3% of the nation’s total power demand in 2023, and even the 0.6% low end of its range represents the same amount of electricity usage for Utah, EIA estimated in a Feb. 1 report. The agency earlier said it aimed to better evaluate power consumption of the industry with the poll.

While Bitcoin mining began in the US a decade ago, the country saw an influx of mining companies from the world’s previous mining hub China after the Chinese government banned the practice in 2021. A slew of mining companies went public in the US and set up large-scale operations in energy-rich states such as Texas and Georgia. 

Collecting data from Bitcoin miners for their energy consumption has been difficult since some of the data, including locations of the sites and electricity rates, could be considered as proprietary by the miners.   

“The TBC, alongside industry partners, views this as a direct assault on private businesses under the guise of an emergency, lacking legitimate grounds and demonstrating clear political bias,” TBC said in the statement. 

(Updates with court filing in third paragraph)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.