International Journal of Government Auditing – Spring 2016
Auditing Energy Savings in Public Administration in Slovakia
The INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental
Audits’ (WGEA) work plan has a
number of goals. One of these goals is to prepare
a project on energy. This is the SAI of Slovakia
The question of resources and their effeciency
is as old as humankind. INTOSAI and individual
SAIs certainly have this topic on their minds.
Energy efficiency is also at the heart of Europe 2020
Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and the transition to a resource efficient economy.
Energy efficiency is arguably one of the most cost
effective ways to enhance security of energy supply.
Energy efficiency itself is one of the biggest energy
reosurces, and that’s certainly the case in Europe.
This is why the European Union (EU) has set a
target to save 20 percent of its primary energy consumption
by 2020. Meeting that target should help
the EU achieve long-term energy and climate goals.
The combined effects of existing and new EU measures
have potential, for example, for saving 1 000
EUR per household/year, creating almost 2 million
jobs, and reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions
by 740 million tons.
The greatest energy saving potential lies in effective
energy consumption management especially
in real property such as buildings and homes. The
public sector can take a lead by renovating public
sector buildings, encouraging renovations in
private buildings, improving energy performance of
components and appliances used in those buildings,
refurbishing public buildings through binding targets,
introducing energy efficiency criteria in public
spending, and foreseeing obligations to cut energy
consumption in whole.
But what are the individual countries and their
SAIs´ achievements in this field?
In 2015, the SAI of Slovakia performed a combined
compliance and performance audit as a part
ot the INTOSAI WGEA project on energy savings.
The audit goal was to assess the fulfillment of tasks
by the State according to adopted international
agreements and EU legislation, and finally, fulfillment
of the long term goal to lower the primary
energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.
In Slovakia, several Ministries and State Administration
Institutions have reposnsibilities for energy
efficiency initiatives and energy savings in the public
sector. The institution with primary responsibilty
for managing the public sector energy effectiveness
and energy savings in Slovakia is Ministry of
Economy. The SAI of Slovakia was not able to audit
all of these insittutions for lack of resources; but, the
audit covered the most important institutions with
responsibility for energy efficiency in the country.
The audit was performed in Ministry of Economy,
Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development, Slovak Innovation
and Energy Agency, Environmental Fund and
Agricultural Paying Agency. The audited timeframe
was 2012 – 2014.
The Slovak Republic has adopted and implemeted
into its legal framework all EU Directives
that concern the energy effectiveness and energy
savings. The concept of energy effectiveness is being
implemented through three-year action plans.
The Ministry of Economy assesses progress
in meeting the national targets every year and,
if needed, the Ministry amends the targets and informs European Commission (EC) about those
changes. The Ministry has also established a permanent
intra-ministerial commission to prepare action
plans for energy effectiveness in Slovakia.
The SAI of Slovakia publishes the relevant reports
on its web site.
The audit at the Ministry of Economy detected
several shortcomings related to the Slovakia´s progress
meeting the nation’s strategic goals and objectives.
They were defined as:
- Financial risks – derived from the system of financing
1.1 The resources were deemed unsufficient,
fragmented, and not coordinated. There
was no systemic mechanism to support and
unite the existing support mechanisms and
make provisions for accepting new tools and
- 1.2 Problematic access to finance energy savings
plans and products for municipalites – due
to a special legislation (Constitutional Act
493/2011 on Fiscal Responsibility) that sets
particular rules for indebtness applicable in
Public Administration and municipalities,
some municipalities cannot borrow funds.
- 1.3 Insufficient sources to finance compulsory
renewals of the State Administration buildings
that would fulfil the energy savings goals.
- 1.4 Insufficient use of EU Structural funds. For
example, the audit reported shortcomings
in the pace of public procurements, low and
ineffective use of allocated financial resources
by the recipient, and high administrative
- Capacity risks – lack of employees in energy savings
2.1 With increasing demands on analytical and
administrative components of the processes,
it would be necessary to increase the number
of State employees in the given field.
At the time of the audit, there were only 4
people at the Ministry of the Economy to
perform analysis, develop legislation, manage
the finances, evaluate he programs, monitor
spending and administer the program.
- 2.2 All central organs of the State Administration
were experiencing the same problems
as described in 2.1 – existing employees having
unsufficient or poor qualifications and
having not adequate time to fulfill the given
agenda duties. Also there was a high level of
employees attrcition that hampered continuity
- 2.3 Various necessary assessments took too much
time due to low level of employees number
assigned to the tasks.
- 2.4 The individual State Administration departments
are not prepared to accommodate
increasing requirements from the energy
savings plans stemming from the commitments
to the EU.
- Risks related to assessment of measures in energy
effectiveness and progress towards meeting the
3.1 The energy savings indicators were not always
obligatory – the lack of data didn´t allow
assessing possible savings.
- 3.2 The accountings for energy savings methods
- 3.3 The Ministry of Economy is not going to be
a leader for any operational program in the
period 2014 – 2020. And that means it won´t
have any direct influence to identify energy
savings projects that should have priority.
- 3.4 Great differences were detected in similar
projects. Significant disparities were found
among various project costs that were identical
or almost identical. Financing energy
effectiveness founded from public (EU)
resources should be equal to those projects
in private sector.
- 3.5 Some European Commission assessment
methods and guidance were missing for
computing certain calculations.
- Risks related to translations
4.1 There is no check-up system for before and
after adopting EU regulations. After the
adoption of the Lisbon Agreement, the
system of delegated regulations came into
life (delegated regulation allows European
Commission to issue a regulation that is
only formally approved by the EU Council/
Parliament). If a mistake is found in the
translation, the regulations are printed and
in force with the misprint corrected ex post
in “corrigendum” (with a time lag). The
translations were approved by the European
Commission without possibility to lodge any
submission. This timeline made it impossible
to check the correct use of Slovak language in
connection to Slovak legislative framework.
At present, verifications of the translations
is done unofficially among DG Energy, DE
Translation and the Ministry of Economy.
There is no guarantee that all regulations will
Overall, the audit findings also stated, that
- Slovakia breached its duty to provide annual
renewal of 3 percent of total heated and cooled
space in buildings owned and managed by Government
and its bodies;
- To achieve the energy savings policy goals,
the Government should systematically use the
proceeds from emission trading schemes and
revenues as well as excise duties collected from
electricity, coal and natural gases sales;
- Resources for funding compulsory reconstruction
of the State Administration buildings in
period 2014 – 2020 are not sufficient.
To eliminate the detected shortcomings, the
auditees approved 27 measures and SAI Slovakia
will monitor their fulfillment. The report also found
that it may be necessary simplify administrative
procedures and tying the governmental support to
achieved energy savings.
For more information contact the Supreme Audit Office of Slovak
web page: http:/www.nku.gov.sk
Working Group on Environmental Audits
Overall Energy Efficiency Trends and Policies in the EU 27, October 2009