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Audit Report: OAS-RA-13-16

March 28, 2013

The Department of Energy's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program-State of Colorado and County of Boulder

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program received $3.2 billion to develop, promote, implement and manage energy efficiency and conservation projects and programs designed to reduce fossil fuel emissions, reduce total energy use of the eligible entities, and improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building and other appropriate sectors.  The Department of Energy (Department) awarded a $9.6 million formula grant to the State of Colorado (Colorado) in September 2009, and a $25 million competitive grant to the County of Boulder, Colorado (Boulder), in May 2010.  These 3-year grants provided funding for activities such as outreach and advisory services, building retrofits, rebates and loans.  We found Colorado and Boulder had not always managed these grants efficiently and effectively.  For instance, Colorado paid local agencies about $2 million to develop outreach strategies and action plans without ensuring costs were reasonable and activities were performed in a timely manner.  Further, about $8,000 of the $279.618 in rebates paid by Boulder that we reviewed were either inaccurate or unsupported.  As a result, about $2 million of costs incurred and $8,000 in rebate payments were questioned.  According to Colorado officials, these issues occurred because they did not fully understand grant requirements.  Additionally, we found that Colorado officials had not incorporated documentation requirements in local agency agreements, and had not held sub-recipients accountable for timely deliverables.  In response to the finding, the Department concurred with the recommendations and initiated corrective actions to improve grant management and to resolve questioned costs. 

Topic: Financial Assistance