The Investigators: Cash for appliances - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Cash for appliances

By Andy Wise - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - The U.S. Department of Energy has started to spread $300 million among all 50 states and six American territories to fund state-administered appliance rebate programs, colloquially referred to as "cash for appliances" programs.

Unlike "cash for clunkers (CARS)," a competitive grant program that stuck some auto dealerships with delayed reimbursements, the appliance rebate program is a formula grant program that will offer rebates directly to consumers, instead of reimbursements to appliance retailers.

Each state is continuing to formulate its rebate program.  Most are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010, and most will adopt mail-in rebates.  Consumers will be able to buy more energy efficient Energy Star-rated appliances and receive a cash rebate after completing the paperwork.

Each state has the discretion to limit what Energy Star appliances qualify under its program.  The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development, under the direction of the state's Director of Energy Policy Ryan Gooch, has elected to limit its rebate program ($5.9 million) to Energy Star air source heat pumps, central air conditioners and window air units. 

Gooch told Action News 5 he decided to restrict the rebates to those appliances because they consume the most energy.  He said offering a rebate to folks who buy the more efficient Energy Star units will reap the most energy savings.

"These energy savings from the energy-efficient heating and cooling units will be expected to save Tennessee consumers about 16 million kilowatt hours of energy each year," said Gooch, "which equates to about $1.4 million in reduced energy costs in their monthly electric bills."

But some Tennessee appliance dealers are concerned about the restrictions.  Both Mississippi and Arkansas plan to include other Energy Star appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers.

Dawn Good of Roy Good Appliance City in Memphis said she will lose customers seeking rebates on those appliances to Mississippi and Arkansas.

"There are appliance dealers just right over the county lines from us, so I mean it definitely could hurt us. Badly," Good said.

Qualifying appliances, rebate amounts and methods of applying for the rebates could change in the next few months.  For now, here are the details of the anticipated Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas appliance rebate programs, including links to their respective web sites:

TENNESSEE (Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development)

State Energy and Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP)

* $5.9 million

* Start date:  Earth Day, April 22, 2010

* Energy Star air source heat pumps, central air conditioners, window/room air conditioners

* $250 rebate for the heat pumps, $40 rebate for the air conditioners; method undetermined, but expected to be mail-in rebate.

* http://www.tnecd.gov/recovery/energystar.html

 

MISSISSIPPI (Mississippi Development Authority)

State Energy and Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP)

* $2.8 million

* Start date:  March 2010

* Energy Star dishwashers, room air conditioners, refrigerators, clothes washers, freezers, gas storage water heaters, tankless water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, air source heat pumps, gas furnaces, central air conditioners 

* Rebate amount and method undetermined

* http://www.mississippi.org/index.php?id=752

 

ARKANSAS (Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

State Energy and Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP)

* $2.7 million

* Start date:  March 2010

* Energy Star refrigerators, clothes washers, gas condensing water heaters, gas storage water heaters, tankless water heaters, air source heat pumps

* $50 to $200 mail-in rebate

* http://arkansasenergy.org/energy-in-arkansas/energy-policy-and-legislation/recovery-2009/energy-star-appliance-rebate.aspx 

U.S. Department of Energy's site on appliance rebates:  http://www.energysavers.gov/financial/index.cfm/mytopic=70020

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly