February 19, 2013
Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission Weatherization Assistance Program Funds Provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) the Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization Program) received $5 billion to reduce energy consumption for low-income households through energy efficient upgrades. The State of California received $186 million in Recovery Act Weatherization Program funding, of which $11.2 million was allocated to the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission (Agency) to weatherize 5,374 homes. The State of California Department of Community Services and Development (State) was responsible for administering Weatherization Program grants, including funds provided to the Agency. The Department of Energy's (Department) Office of Inspector General contracted with Lopez and Company, LLP, to conduct an examination of the Agency’s Weatherization Program. The examination found that the Agency selected a contractor to administer its Recovery Act Weatherization Program without considering the price of services, and executed multiple contracts with its weatherization contractor that did not clearly document agreed-upon terms and conditions. Further, the Agency's primary weatherization contractor improperly approved and/or documented the eligibility of applicants, and incorrectly reported its labor hours to the Agency for purposes of reporting total jobs created and retained under the Recovery Act. The issues identified occurred, in part, because State officials were originally unaware that the Agency had not considered price in selecting a contractor. Also, the Agency's policies and procedures did not require a review of the eligibility process performed by its contractor prior to providing weatherization services. In response to the findings, the Department agreed with the recommendations and proposed corrective actions to improve the administration of the Weatherization Program.