Inspector General Questions $12 Million in Smart Grid Recovery-Related Costs
Grid Friendly Controller Chips like this will play a significant role in the Smart Grid. [Photo courtesy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory].
Ineffective management of the Department of Energy’s Recovery-funded program to modernize the nation’s power grid has led the agency’s Inspector General (IG) to question more than $12 million in associated costs, according to a new audit report.
DOE’s Smart Grid program received $4.5 billion in Recovery money – 33 times more than the program’s normal annual budget – to update the aging national power system with smart technology such as wireless data networks that will improve efficiency of energy delivery and use. Nearly $700 million was earmarked to fund proof-of-concept projects around the country.
The DOE IG audited 11 of those projects, involving $279 million in Recovery funding, and found “weaknesses in financial management and incomplete and insufficient cyber security plans, potentially jeopardizing achievement of Recovery Act goals.”
Auditors concluded that DOE managers had improperly reimbursed project recipients for costs based on estimates rather than hard numbers, resulting in overpayments of approximately $9.9 million. One recipient received reimbursement for nearly $2.4 million without providing adequate supporting documentation.
“After being presented with the results of our audit, the Department initiated actions to resolve the $12.3 million in questioned costs we discovered,” the report stated. DOE officials said they were working with recipients to resolve reimbursements based on estimated costs in addition to tightening processes involving adequate supporting documentation.
Back to Featured Stories