All fifty US states and six territories and the District of Columbia are participating in a federally funded appliance rebate program, one that has its roots in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also known as the $787 billion stimulus program. These states and territories have been allowed to create their own rebate programs with all 56 plans now approved by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Yesterday, Minnesota and Iowa were among the first states to launch their programs and although different from each other the result was the same: related websites were flooded with traffic, crashing servers while also swamping phone lines as consumers sought additional information. In the Mar. 1, 2010 issue of the “Dubuque Telegraph Herald,” the Iowa Office of Energy Independence said that their website was down most of the morning while their toll free number was temporarily inoperative. Residents were being urged to try both methods later in the day.
According to the DOE, rebates are being funded with $300 million from the stimulus act. Eligible consumers can receive rebates to purchase new energy-efficient appliances when they replace used appliances, though the appliances to be covered vary from program to program.
Most rebates range from $50 to $250 and cover a wide range of appliances including refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, hot water heaters, furnaces, heat pumps, freezers and more. Some programs limit the covered appliances while others cover all ten as recommended by the DOE. In order to qualify for a rebate, the new appliance must replace an old appliance. The DOE is encouraging states to create their own recycling program for the older units.
Each program has a base funding of $100,000 with some states receiving far greater funding. American Samoa, for example, is receiving the $100,000 minimum while our largest state, California, will receive more than $35 million. And although states can keep their programs active until February 2012, most are expected to run out of funds quickly, perhaps in as little as two weeks.
For more information about the program in your state and covered appliances, please visit the DOE website and click on your respective state’s program information.
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