Sneak Preview: Wis. To Gauge Need for Audit of Energy Programs

August 28, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Administration planned to determine if a separate annual audit of the state’s Home Energy Assistance and Weatherization Assistance programs was warranted in response to a recent Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau audit recommendation.

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to low-income individuals and families to offset energy costs, and the Wisconsin Weatherization Program provides services for low-income individuals and families to reduce energy consumption. In fiscal year 2012-2013, expenditures in the two programs totaled about $217.1 million and aided more than 220,000 households. Local energy assistance and local weatherization agencies are required to review documentation to determine eligible participants.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration oversees the programs using desktop and administrative reviews of local energy assistance agencies. It also conducts annual administrative reviews and dwelling unit inspections of each local weatherization assistance agency.

Although state law requires WDOA to provide for an annual independent audit of the programs, the audit bureau found that it had not done so. “Annually auditing these programs could facilitate more effective program oversight,” WLAB said. It recommended that WDOA comply with state law and provide for the audit or, if it determines that the potential benefits of complying with this requirement do not justify the added costs, request that that the state legislature eliminate the statutory requirement for the audit.

WDOA staff said they would assess whether there are any “gaps” in the current audit efforts that would be addressed by a separate annual audit and would determine the cost of such an audit. “The energy assistance and weatherization programs are subject to several existing audit requirements,” WDOA said. “In most years, they are audited on an annual basis as required by federal funding agencies. DOA will review the federal audit requirements … to determine if there are efficiencies that may be gained by combining the audit efforts.”

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