Air Force Paid Green Energy Firm $19 Million Without Verifying Its Work
Air Force officials paid a contractor $19 million — and is scheduled ultimately to pay another $115 million — to reduce energy consumption at Joint Base McGuire in New Jersey without making sure the work was actually done and whether it made any difference.
Massachusetts-based Ameresco was awarded the contract in 2009 by the Department of Energy to install energy savings equipment throughout the military facility at a cost of more than $135 million, with the Air Force as the contractor administrator. The $19 million was for the first phase of the contract.
The contract is part of President Obama’s green energy initiatives intended to reduce energy consumption throughout the federal government.
According to the Department of Defense inspector general, the Air Force:
- Didn’t tell anybody to oversee the contractor’s performance, apparently because the chief contracting officer didn’t think a qualified individual was available.
- Nobody documented that the contractor fulfilled any of the contract’s specific requirements.
- The contractor’s claimed energy savings were independently verified because the contracting officer claimed not to know such verification was required. She also said she lacked the technical expertise to check the savings claim and, according to the IG, “had other contracting priorities.”
- Paid four separate invoices totaling $18.96 million without prior review of the contractor’s installation report. That happened because Air Force “officials did not establish policies and procedures to review invoices and payments,” the IG said.
“As a result, Air Force officials do not know whether the approximately $19 million spent and approximately $115 million planned for the remaining contract performance will result in energy savings,” the IG said.
Ameresco was founded by its current chief executive officer, George P. Sakellaris. Sakellaris is a frequent contributor to presidential and congressional campaigns, mostly to Democrats but to some Republicans as well. His contributions since 1999 totaled more than $240,000, according to the FEC.
Air Force officials did not respond to the IG’s request for comments on its report. The Ameresco media office did not respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
Go here to read the complete DOD IG report.