April 26, 2022

Prospective Considerations for the Infrastructure Law-Funded Weatherization Assistance Program

For fiscal year 2021, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) received $315 million in appropriations.  The Infrastructure Law includes $3.5 billion for WAP over 5 years, or about $700 million in funding per year added to the enduring program appropriations.  These funds may be spent over a 10-year period.  WAP funds are distributed to states, territories, and tribes via grants.  These Government entities then distribute grants to Community Action Agencies that manage WAP activities in communities across the Nation.

As a result of the Office of Inspector General’s previous efforts, we have identified prospective considerations that Department of Energy leadership should consider to enhance internal controls and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.

We examined 15 completed investigations that resulted in investigative outcomes, including 7 criminal convictions, 20 persons excluded from Federal Government contracting, and over $2.25 million recovered.  We issued audit and examination reports demonstrating problems with substandard work, billing errors, unapproved work order changes, unperformed or undocumented final inspections, and charges for unsupported costs.  We also issued audit, examination, and inspection reports identifying problems with

verifying applicant eligibility.  In prior reports, we observed insufficient oversight at both the state level and with Community Action Agencies.  In reviewing prior audit and investigation work related to WAP, we noted that the Department did not act often or quickly to impose administrative remedies on bad actors.

We suggest that the Department consider reserving and allocating Infrastructure Law funds as necessary expenses for the Department, grantees, and subgrantees to improve both the design and the testing of internal controls.  However, we made no formal recommendations in this report.