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Smart Energy Administration?

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Updated: 9/16/2013 5:55 P.M.

It's been a success, but it isn't certain whether a Wood County energy audit program will continue.

It's involved students from WVU-Parkersburg, who have inspected homes for energy efficiency.

Until recently, the program was supervised by Wood County Commission President Wayne Dunn, but the county prosecutor said the commission itself should oversee it.

However, Commissioner Steve Gainer is concerned that the college students performing the audits are paid for their work, rather than simply getting course credit.

The program's federal grant runs out at the end of this month. The commission made no decision Monday on it's future.

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8/2/2013

The Smart Energy Solutions program is designed to provide advice to middle-income residents about ways to lower their utility bills.

"We do the energy efficiency assessment study," says Wayne Dunn, President, Wood County Commission, 'and the homeowner will make the changes in the energy improvements, on their penny."

But it is how that program was administered that caused some concern for the county's legal advisors. That's because it was not part of the county's budget. Dunn privately oversaw it, West Virginia University at Parkersburg did the marketing, and the account with the money for it was in a separate bank account.

"Any time we had a bill, I'd sign it, then I'd go to the second signatory and he would sign it," Dunn explains. "So we'd always have two signatures on every check before it went out, just to make sure it was upfront and clean."

Dunn maintains none of the money was ever used for personal expenses, although he adds there's always a possibility someone could use it that way. County Prosecutor Jason Wharton suggested the program be brought under county oversight.

"If the county were to be audited, that could be a problem, because while this is under the county umbrella, the county does not have control of that money."

The program has received several grants, including one donation from DuPont.

It is now part of the Wood County budget.

Dunn adds that, because it has its own funding, it is not taking up additional revenues.


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