After more than three months of offering it, the Office of Energy Resources (OER) is down to little more than $300,000 left in its coffers for citizens who want to take part in the appliance rebate program, which encourages citizens to purchase newer, more energy efficient appliances to remove older models from the electric grid. The man who crafted the program says that Idahoans are utilizing the program to replace clothes washer, dryers, and high-use appliances.
The program is similar to the “Cash for Clunkers” program last year, which allowed people to trade in older, less fuel efficient cars and receive up to $4,500 in tax rebates toward the purchase of a new car. For the cash for appliances program, citizens are able to replace appliances – dishwashers, water heaters, dryers, and more – with newer appliances that are Energy Star certified and use less energy than older models. Citizens can receive rebate money for up to five different appliance upgrades.
Paul Kjellander, director for OER, said that more than 3,100 rebates have been reserved or applied for as of May 12, 2010. Clothes washers, refrigerators, and dishwashers – in that order – are the three most commonly replaced items by Idahoans, according to Kjellander, who believes several factors may contribute to that statistic. "It’s not every three or four years when your furnace goes out on you,” said Kjellander. He added that washers and fridges receive more everyday wear and tear than furnaces and air conditioning units, so they are more likely to be replaced. Additionally, he pointed out that people who might be moving into new homes might be looking to replace old appliances with more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing models.
Kjellander, in a phone interview with IdahoReporter.com Tuesday, said that he doesn’t have any updated statistics on what Idahoans are buying with the rebate money, but that he believes the top three appliances will remain high on the list when it is released later this week. He said that he feels that most of the money will be used up by the end of August. Kjellander wants to ensure those who might have been waiting and hesitating in participating don’t wait too much longer. “August should be our final push,” he said.
To receive a rebate, Idaho citizens must purchase an Energy Star appliance and save the receipt of that purchase. After buying the appliance, people can log on to the state’s website for the program and fill out the application form. After printing out the form, people will need to mail in the form, along with a copy of the receipt, and a utility bill which bears an Idaho address for verification purposes, to OER for processing. If the rebate application is granted, applicants will be mailed a pre-paid VISA debit card 6-8 weeks later in the amount of the rebate.
In an earlier interview with IdahoReporter.com, Kjellander said that he wanted the program to be a “slow, steady burn” of funds and not a quick shot in the arm. Kjellander did not say how long he would like the program to last. Several retailers in Boise and Coeur d’Alene have reported using advertising time and space to push the rebate program to sell more appliances. Read about that here.
The state had $1.2 million for the program and once the money is gone, the state will end the program, unlike “Cash for Clunkers,” which received a second appropriation due to its popularity. The money for the program came from President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill of 2009, and each state was divvied out differing amounts based on population.