September 19, 2011
The Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the State of Tennessee
The Department of Energy's (Department) Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization Program) received $5 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income individuals, of which the State of Tennessee received a three-year Weatherization Program grant of $99 million. We initiated this audit to determine if Tennessee had adequate safeguards in place to ensure that the Weatherization Program was managed efficiently and effectively. We found that Tennessee, while achieving its production goals, had not always ensured that the Weatherization Program was managed efficiently and effectively and noted problems in the areas of cost-effectiveness of weatherization measures, change orders, eligibility of applicants, and quality of weatherization work. These weaknesses, if uncorrected, could pose health and safety risks to residents, hinder production, and increase program costs. Similar to issues we identified in a series of reports on weatherization programs in other states, this report offers valuable lessons learned related to identifying and addressing systemic quality problems. We made a number of recommendations designed to improve the Department's administration of the Weatherization Program.