Response to House Committee on Oversight and Reform Report
The low–income Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has achieved many notable successes. Claims made earlier today in a report released by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Darrell Issa (R-CA), are a rehash of outdated and inaccurate misinformation about the program.
Timothy Warfield, Executive Director of the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) issued this statement in response to the report:
The House Oversight Committee was wrong in its characterization of the Weatherization Assistance Program. The program is state-of-the-art and was praised by the Government Accounting Office for influencing the direction of the private sector. While all accusations of inadequate work need to be addressed immediately by local program administrators, we agree with Secretary Chu that these examples cited in the report do not reflect the overall quality and success of the program. These instances are rare exceptions to an otherwise exceptional program.
The Weatherization Assistance Program, which has existed for more than 30 years, has been effective in reaching its goals to make homes of low-income families more energy efficient, safer, and healthier nationwide. As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, the Weatherization Assistance Program's network of local providers weatherized approximately 700,000 homes nationwide, more than 100,000 homes than originally projected, resulting in families saving an average of $437 in heating and cooling costs per year at current prices.
Contractors engaged in the weatherization program are highly trained and have access to industry standard curriculum and resources. Weatherization crews use computerized energy audits and advanced diagnostic equipment, such as blower doors, digital combustion analyzers, and infrared cameras, to determine the most cost-effective measures appropriate for each home. To ensure cost effectiveness, crews install only those energy-efficiency measures that are determined by the energy audit to have an energy savings payback greater than the cost to install the measure.
In addition, during this extended period of high unemployment, the Weatherization Assistance Program is the second largest single job-creating program out of approximately 200 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus programs. The most recent results from the fourth quarter of 2011 found that the Weatherization Assistance Program created or retained 13,186 jobs during that period.
NASCSP urges the committee to review the Weatherization Assistance Program in its entirety, including its long history of successes, to give a more balanced depiction of this proven program.
NASCSP is a professional association whose members are State administrators of the Department of Health and Human Services' Community Services Block Grant and the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program.
Robert Scott, Director of Energy Services