Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released the 2011 Wastebook, his annual “guide to some of the most wasteful and low priority government spending”. Among the report’s targets is DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a program that improves the energy efficiency of low-income family homes. Among the criticisms of the program highlighted by Senator Coburn:

  • The DOE Inspector General found in a 2010 survey that the program suffered from poor workmanship, inflated contractor and material costs, and substandard home inspections to a level that “put the entire program at risk.”
  • WAP-funded job training programs are sometimes unable to place trainees in jobs, due to lack of demand.
  • WAP “duplicates other federal initiatives, and the deluge of federal funding for energy efficiency could allow states to spend less of their own revenue on such efforts, reducing the net impact of the federal programs.”

WAP’s website states that low-income family homes receiving assistance see an average annual energy bill reduction of $427, and that “the savings add up over time to substantial benefits for weatherization clients and their communities, and the nation as a whole.”