State audit finds R.I. energy program overpaid, mismanaged grants
AN AUDIT of the Renewable Energy Development Fund commissioned by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee found that the R.I. Economic Development Corporation mismanaged funds and failed to report monitor and report grants.
PROVIDENCE — A state audit commissioned by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee found that the Renewable Energy Development Fund run by the R.I. Economic Development Corporation mismanaged grant money, failed to adequately monitor or report grants and in some cases overpaid grant recipients, Associated Press reported.
The energy development program uses money paid by electricity customers to offer grants, loans and other incentives to companies and municipalities that aim to increase renewable energy in Rhode Island.
The audit report, which was released this month, reviewed the program in the years 2008 to 2012. The report judged that the Economic Development Corp.’s careless bookkeeping and “informal management style” were at the root of pervasive accounting problems at the Renewable Energy Development Fund during those years.
The audit concluded, “There was no process or system to account for [grant] awards, nor was there a process to track payment activity,” according to the news release.
Julian Dash, the energy program’s manager from 2008 to 2012, said that he has not read the audit but believes that many of the report’s findings depend on interpretations of the Economic Development Corp. and program rules, Associated Press reported. Dash currently works as a renewable energy consultant.
“Most of the officials who oversaw the program between 2008 and 2012 have been replaced. Current EDC officials said that while the audit’s findings are troubling, new rules for the program adopted in the past year should prevent such problems from recurring,” according to the Associated Press.
Changes adopted in the past year include moving the energy program under the agency’s financial services offices, increasing oversight by the Economic Development Corp. Board and implementing new rules for accounting and grants.