DOE's State Energy Conservation Grant Programs
T-RCED-89-42, May 17, 1989
GAO discussed four Department of Energy (DOE) state energy conservation grant programs designed to help low-income persons meet home energy costs. GAO found that: (1) there was confusion regarding the procedures states could use to appeal DOE support office decisions on individual energy projects, since states believed that the procedures in the energy conservation and extension programs were potentially biased against them; (2) confusion arose because appeal routes other than the administrative review procedures were available to states; (3) a DOE requirement that grantees have clear title to energy conservation equipment at the time the grant was closed out made it difficult to use performance contracts to finance matching contributions for institutional conservation grants; (4) DOE proposed rules to allow it to hold liens on institutional conservation grant property to protect the government's interest; (5) school administrative buildings and buildings constructed after 1977 were not eligible for grant funding; (6) the energy-saving criteria DOE used to grant awards made it more difficult for smaller institutions to receive grants because larger institutions saved more energy; and (7) states had the responsibility for formulating hardship institution funding criteria. GAO believes that Congress may wish to: (1) provide emphasis for clear, consistent appeal procedures; and (2) change the hardship provisions to take into account the need for regional differences.