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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Energy conservation & jobs program -- a failure in NC and everywhere else.

Posted by on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 4:08 PM

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The U.S. Department of Energy is out with an inspector general's report today on the "progress" of the Obama Administration's program for weatherizing low-income homes -- and creating much-needed jobs in the bargain. The New York Times' summary: It has "borne little fruit" after a year.

So little, in fact, that the IG called it "alarming," the Times says:

New York State, for example, had a goal of weatherizing 45,400 units over three years but by December had accomplished only 280, a completion rate of 0.62 percent, the report found. One reason was a hiring freeze in New York City.

Progress in Pennsylvania, which weatherized 1.28 percent of the houses and apartments it had intended to, was slowed by a deadlock over the state budget, the report said. Illinois wanted to hire 21 workers to oversee nearly work on 27,000 homes; it hired none because of a spending freeze, and completed only 331, or 1.23 percent of its three-year target.

Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Texas and Wyoming had not weatherized any units by Feb. 16, the report said.

But what about North Carolina, you ask? The answer is on page 3 of the report. North Carolina planned to weatherize 22,203 units. So far, it's done 197 -- or less than 1 percent.

But in North Carolina's defense, the report continues:

Although North Carolina's original state plan had been approved by the Department in June 2009, the State had to submit an amended plan, including budget information, through its Department of Commerce. The amended state plan was ultimately not approved by the Department of Energy until November 2009. Accordingly, North Carolina did not have access to its allocation for the Weatherization Program until that time.

Wasn't this supposed to be the simplest of programs for the new Administration -- a program that would pay its way both in energy savings and job skills learned by the workers -- that it was cinch to be successful?

Oh, my.

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