Friday, January 29, 2010

Connecticut Uses Federal Stimulus Money for Appliance Rebates

If you're thinking of buying a new appliance this winter or spring, here's a way to save a few clams:

BRISTOL -- Now is the time to replace electric appliances with more efficient, energy saving ones -- new federal stimulus rebates of $50 to $500 are available for those who do.

Connecticut is using $3.4 million in federal stimulus funds to offer rebates on Energy Star-rated refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, room air conditioners and central air systems.

Sen. Tom Colapietro announced Connecticut’s new applicance rebate program -- paid with federal stimulus dollars -- Friday at the Bristol Community Organization, a regional non-profit agency that handles energy assistance applications.

“People are hurting,” said Colapietro. He said the rebates should help stimulate the economy by encouraging people to buy appliances.

Those who can afford to replace old appliances, he said, will save themselves some “real money” as the buyers get a rebate and the stores get a sale.

“Everybody wins,” said Colapietro, comparing the deal to the “cash for clunkers” program. “We try to help people as much as we can.”

The rebates are easy to get, Colapietro said. He said the forms are online and simple to fill out, joking that even he was able to manage it.

Rebates are $50 for refrigerators, freezers and room air conditioners, $100 for washers and $500 for central air systems.

The rebate program runs through the end of April and may be extended if funds remain. State residents are eligible for one rebate per appliance but can get as many as three for room air conditioners.

Federal tax credits are already in place for people who make larger investments in energy saving measures in the home, such as new windows.

Colapietro praised BCO for offering many types of assistance, and the expertise to help people find the help they need from other agencies as well.

“The trouble with people today is they don’t know where to go for help,” said Colapietro. “There’s lots of help for people.”

Thomas Morrow, executive director of BCO, said the agency has seen “unprecedented increases” in the number of people seeking help with energy costs.

Compared with two years ago, the number of applicants is up 200 percent, Morrow said.

“It’s a whole new class of client,” said Morrow, many of whom have never sought help before.

Joseph Roy Jr. of Bristol, an artist and illustrator for religious books, said his work slowed in the recession and he found himself struggling. A friend suggested he come to BCO for help, he said.

“It’s a great organization,” said Roy. “There are a lot of people out there who need this. This is a dream come true.”

Roy said it wasn’t hard to get help with his heating bill through BCO. He just had to provide some financial information to qualify, he said.

“I’m so glad that I found out that they were here,” he said.

Another way people can save, Colapietro said, is to shop around for electricity. He said the power companies are required to provide a list of competing electricity suppliers if asked.

Consumers can purchase power from a variety of outlets, Colapietro said, and may be able to save $10 to $15 a month by doing so, if they’re careful shoppers.

“Read the fine print,” he cautioned.

More information on the rebate program is available online at Forms will be available in stores after Feb. 1 and forms will be sent in the mail to those who call 1-877-947-3873.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good deal for consumers but the truth is that these rebate programs generally increase emery usage. People trade in their old appliance for a newer one but they but new ones that use more power. For example they trade in a refrigerator for one that has a larger capacity and water and ice dispensers built into the door, or they buy one with more cubic feet of space.

    Buy a new appliance if you need one but don’t fall for the baloney that you are reducing energy consumption or saving the environment.