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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Compliance With Executive Order 111: Agency Energy Efficiency Goals and Practices


Issued: October 17, 2013
Link to full audit report 2012-S-159
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether State agencies and certain public authorities and corporations, collectively referred to as Affected State Entities (ASEs), achieved a reduction of their energy consumption by 35 percent as directed by Executive Order 111 (E.O. 111 or the Order) and whether the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) took appropriate actions to assist other entities to comply with the statewide energy efficiency target established by the Order.

Background
E.O. 111 required that, by 2010, all ASEs seek to achieve a reduction of their energy consumption by 35 percent as compared to 1990 levels. NYSERDA was designated the lead entity responsible for coordinating implementation and assisting other ASEs to fulfill their responsibilities under the Order. Additionally, each ASE was required to submit an annual energy report to NYSERDA by December 1 of each year detailing its overall management of energy and sustainability improvements. In December 2012, E.O. 111 was replaced by a new Executive Order 88, which requires ASEs to further reduce their energy consumption by another 20 percent relative to 2010- 2011 levels. NYSERDA's role under this new Order is to assist the ASEs, and a newly established Central Management and Implementation Team, in their efforts to implement and comply with these new requirements.

Key Findings

  • Our audit found NYSERDA made significant efforts to provide guidance, and to directly and indirectly assist ASEs in meeting their energy reduction goals, but was deficient in its oversight and monitoring of the statewide progress toward the goal, and these deficiencies likely hampered the effort's outcomes. As a result, more than a decade after E.O. 111 was issued, no one can be certain precisely what was accomplished on a statewide basis and whether program goals were achieved by anyone except a few select agencies that chose to comply.
  • Many ASEs did not consistently and accurately report annual energy usage data to NYSERDA as required. As a result, there is little assurance that reported progress toward the target is an accurate representation of the statewide results.
  • NYSERDA provided both direct and indirect assistance and guidance to ASEs, but it failed to enforce reporting requirements or investigate anomalies in the data it did receive. As a result the reliability of the reported results was further diminished.

Key Recommendations

  • Consistent with its responsibility to assist ASEs and the Central Management and Implementation Team in their efforts to comply with the new Executive Order 88, NYSERDA should draw upon its experience administering E.O. 111, and the related issues discussed in this report, to help fulfill its role under the new Order.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority: Compliance with Executive Order 111: Requirements to Purchase Power from Renewable Sources (2008-S-74)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236