Auditor Says Nebraska Lost Out on $5.8 Million in Federal Aid

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - State Auditor Mike Foley says Nebraska failed to take advantage of nearly $5.8 million in federal funding that could have been used to make homes more energy-efficient or reduce residents' utility bills.  Foley on Monday blamed the Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  Foley says he believes the money went unused because the department doesn't understand what federal and state rules allow. He says the state could have spent the money on a home-weatherization program or on unpaid energy bills, which would have reduced ratepayers' costs.  The auditor's office says DHHS also exceeded its limit for administrative expenses by more than $656,000. In a written response, the department says it will reimburse the federal government $431,000 for the administrative costs.