• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • There’s No Such Thing as a Free Energy Audit

    Typically when the government and business get together, it’s the consumer who ends up paying. So when Washington, D.C.’s Department of the Environment (DDOE) teamed up with Patuxent Environmental Group (PEG) and other contractors to provide “free” energy audits, of course it didn’t end well for the consumer. But most residents didn’t realize that PEG would place liens on their houses for not paying for the audit.

    Let’s start from the beginning. For the past two years, the D.C. government has been contracting out to inspectors to investigate where homeowners could improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Then the program started to run into problems.

    According to one resident who tried to take advantage of the program, PEG completed the audit but sent no report detailing what the energy improvements should be:

    Weeks went by, no report, so I called PEG and was told that they weren’t authorized to issue reports to homeowners and I should call the DDOE to inquire. That office said that PEG’s reports initially were too complicated and they were asked to simplify them and then they were too generic and so reports were being redrafted yet again and I’d get mine soon. Weeks later, no report so I called again. Again I was told to call the city government—frankly, I can’t remember the details except that each party was blaming the other for me not getting my report—and frankly I gave up the idea of ever getting one.

    If that had been the case, the story may have ended there. Some taxpayer money wasted on a D.C. government program, but what’s new? In the beginning of August, some homeowners received this letter from PEG:

    Unfortunately, we are unable to supply you with that report because the DDOE has failed to make payment for the inspection. After repeated efforts, letters, emails and meetings the DDOE has made no effort to resolve the issue. It is with great regret, that we are informing you that we are placing a lien on your property. As a matter of protocol, a contractor’s last effort to collect payment for service not paid is placing the lien.

    The letter astonished and frightened residents for obvious reasons, but DDOE sent a letter to the same residents a few days later, saying, “PEG has no legal basis for placing a lien on your property.” PEG said that placing a lien was a “reservation of rights” but will not proceed with the filing of any liens. The dispute has devolved to a blame game between DDOE and PEG, with the government saying they told PEG to stop and PEG claiming that’s not the case. Even so, the DDOE promised residents a new energy audit “at no cost” to the residents.

    Of course, the program does have a cost, but it will be borne by D.C. taxpayers. More often than not, the consumers that have the finances to make improvements on their homes will also have the finances to cover an energy audit. If consumers want to save money by improving the energy efficiency of their home, they should do so on their own rather than relying on taxpayers to foot a portion of the bill.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to There’s No Such Thing as a Free Energy Audit

    1. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    2. Drew Page, IL says:

      I wonder if the guy who had a lien put on his property still is an "environmentalist" and still thinks that the government is the solution to all his problems.

    3. Slick - Nebraska says:

      Drew – are you kidding?

      You and I probably paid the poor sucker's bill because the government determined it was not his fault that the DDOE, the PEG, the Dept of Interior, Homeland Security, ICE and every other damn government agency in Washington even remotely involved could not decide who deserved to foot the bill. So as usual, it would be the taxpayers who got screwed and the cost is probably coming out of their petty cash fund so we don't know we paid for it!!!!! Just a minor detail you understand!

      That guy who was taking advantage of the free program was hoping to get something for nothing or he wouldn't have participated!!! Isn't that the American way these days?

      My daddy always told me, "There ain't no free lunches!"

    4. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Future episode of Obamacare. A lot of people still want the government to provide them with what they need by constantly voting for policies forcing other to pay for their welfare.

      Welcome to new Cuba.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.