November 22, 2014

Getting Your Government Funded Appliance Rebate

The good news is  that the US Government’s appliance rebate program has finally begun.  The bad news is that you have a bit of footwork to do before you get it.

Under the federal program, the rebates can go to buyers of new central air conditioners, room air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, and water heaters with the Energy Star seal.  Also, it doesn’t matter how old your clunker appliance is, it needn’t be in working order and, in some states, such as Arizona and Florida, you won’t even need to trade it in.

The tricky part is that each state will run its program differently, deciding which of the possible products it will include in the program, when to start and stop offering rebates, the size of the rebates, and which residents will qualify. In Minnesota, for instance, only washers, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators are covered. The refrigerator rebate is worth up to $100 in Nebraska, but no more than $50 in Georgia. The Alaskan program is limited to residents receiving disability payments from the state or federal government. In Kansas and Oregon, rebates are restricted to low-income people. States have until February 2012 to allocate their rebate money, but the programs will likely expire long before then. Some will last only a week.

Eight states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin) have launched their appliance programs, at least for some products, to capitalize on President’s Weekend appliance sales. The rest are likely to rev up by May, many around Earth Day in April. You can find the rules for your state’s program at Energy Star Web site.

More details to be aware of courtesy of CBSNews.com:

Energy Star appliances can cost $50 to $100 more, on average, than ones that don’t. But the appliance should pay for itself over five or six years through savings on your utility bill. In some cases, your savings come faster. Replacing a washer made before 2000 with a new Energy Star model, for example, can save up to $135 a year, according to the Department of Energy.

• Only 55 percent of new major appliances have the Energy Star label. So you might not be able to get the rebate on the product you want to buy.

• You might not actually get cash. Although some states will issue rebate checks, many will instead give out prepaid cards issued by Visa or MasterCard.

• Unlike “Cash for Clunkers,” where dealers handled all the paperwork, in most states you have to deal with the forms to get your rebate. That means mailing in your receipt, along with proof of residency, a rebate form from the retailer or your state energy department web site, and usually proof that your clunker appliance was picked up.

• It’ll take roughly four to six weeks to get the rebate.

Before you shop:

1. Drill down into the details of your state’s plan. Some states have rigorous requirements about which products qualify, beyond the Energy Star stamp. Others are rolling out their programs in two phases.
Minnesota and Texas let consumers reserve rebates online or by calling a toll-free number about two weeks before they buy. Check online to see if your state has rebate funds left. Some state sites provide an up-to-date tally of the amount left in the kitty.

2. Make sure the retailer you plan to visit is participating. Some small dealers are sitting out because they’ve decided the program is too costly. In Georgia, online purchases won’t qualify.

3. Learn the precise rebate amount for the appliance you’ll buy. You may encounter unexpected twists. In New York’s “Great Appliance Swap-Out,” consumers get rebates for buying eligible appliances individually or in a bundle of three, where the rebate may be larger.

4. See if you’ll get a recycling bonus. Some states boost the rebate by $25 to $75 if you recycle your old appliance.

5. Ask about additional deals. There’s a good chance your new appliance is also eligible for a manufacturer’s rebate or store promotion, too. You may also be able to combine a state rebate with the federal one. Call your local utility to see if it is dangling rebates, too. Often, utilities offer $50 off new energy-conserving appliances. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a good place to do your research.

6. Apply for the rebate as soon as you can. Some retailers have in-store computer kiosks where customers can apply for rebates on the spot. In Georgia and New York, as soon as you’ve bought a qualifying appliance, you can reserve a rebate either online or by calling a toll-free number. Since states will halt their programs when their money runs out, you won’t want to conserve your energy when it comes to applying for rebates.

$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.

Comsumer Rebate Program for Appliances

The US stimulus bill recently signed into law by US President Barack Obama includes a $300 million provision to fund the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.

This program will be administered through the 50 US states and will  provide financial incentive to encourage consumer spending and target it to energy savings through consumer rebates for the purchase of Energy Star appliances.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) urge the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to quickly disburse funding to state energy offices for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Programs so that consumer rebates will be available for the summer months to purchase ENERGY STAR appliances.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009  will stimulate demand for home appliances, provide consumers with tremendous savings on the initial purchase cost and long-term utility costs of appliances, and will also provide an important environmental benefit by way of a significant decrease in energy consumption.
“Once the states receive funding from DOE for their rebate programs, consumers can begin to benefit
from an immediate savings on the purchase cost of an ENERGY STAR appliance and on utility bills,” said
Joseph McGuire, AHAM President. “AHAM urges the Department of Energy to quickly provide this
stimulus funding to the states so they can get the money into the hands of consumers.”
In a joint letter, AHAM and RILA requested that DOE distribute the funds to state energy offices quickly
and simply and allow existing and new state programs the flexibility to establish programs that meet
regional needs. The associations provided DOE with broad guidelines for releasing the stimulus funds.
AHAM and RILA also believe the benefit should include consumers with non-working appliances and
consumers who are upgrading to energy efficient products before their current appliances cease to
function.