October 23, 2014

$300 Million? When Will the Rebates Start?

Our article about the government’s $300 million dollar rebate program which is part of Obama’s economic stimulus package hasn’t begun and consumers across the nation are wondering if it is ever going to happen.

Unlike the $3 billion clunkers rebate blitzkrieg that boosted new-vehicle sales last summer, this program has proceeded more slowly and is aimed at longer-term household investments. It’s also being run differently, with each state deciding what kind of equipment will qualify for rebates.

The federal Department of Energy said last summer that only residential appliances that carry the Energy Star designation would qualify for a rebate. It suggested that rebates could be applied to water heaters, refrigerators, central air conditioners and other big-ticket appliances.

After talking with several people familiar with the program, it now appears details will be released by the end of the year on exactly the types of equipment each state will include in its rebate program as well as the amount of the rebates.

If you can’t wait for your state to start its program, you might want to look into the possibility of getting a Federal tax credit by visiting the government’s energysavers.gov.

Manufacturer Rebate vs Government Rebate

We’ve been getting questions regarding when the Government’s promised 300 million dollar appliance rebate will become available. The problem is, unlike the cars Cash for Clunkers program, this appliance stimulus plan is designed and administered by the individual states.

Under a population-based funding formula, Ohio was allocated $11 million, Kentucky $4 million and Indiana $6 million for the rebates.

Today is the deadline for the states to submit their rebate plans. The federal government has until the end of November to approve them.

But most states aren’t expected to launch their rebate programs until early next year.

Jim Recker of Recker & Boerger Inc. appliance stores in Ohio and other appliance retailers say there are plenty of manufacturers rebates already available and some retailers are piggy-backing with their own rebates.

“People will wait for (the government program), but if they bought now, they could take advantage of rebates already in place and save on less energy used by the new appliances in the meantime,” said Recker,(Cincinnati.com) whose firm has stores in Springdale, Montgomery and Anderson Township.

Some examples: Frigidaire has extended a $100 cash back offer on Energy Star-qualified dishwashers through the end of October. Electrolux is offering $100 pre-paid Visa card on Energy Star-rated refrigerators purchased through November.

Another wrinkle in the appliance rebate program is that the federal guidelines encourage the states to team-up with recyclers to remove old appliances from the market, although it isn’t mandated (as it was in the Cash for Clunkers program).