Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A while back, I told you about the proposed “cash for appliances” program that was percolating in the minds of lawmakers. The program was originally inspired by President Obama in the summer of last year, when he announced the American Recover and Reinvestment Act. The program will slash energy costs statewide by motivating people to upgrade their energy-hog appliances for smarter Energy Star appliances. In addition to giving the retail economy a shot in the arm, it’s also going to help homeowners save some cash—another great means of injecting more money into the economy. Most importantly, it will help the state conserve energy costs.
Now, it looks like North Carolina is close to getting the official green light for its version of the program. The program will have two distinct phases that begin at different times, one in the spring and one in the summer.
Starting in April, we should expect to see Phase I of the Cash for Appliances program. It covers refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and washing machines. The rebate is instantly applied at the time of purchase, but only if the buyer simultaneously turns in the old appliance. It’s going to mean that the retailers will have to provide some means of recycling clunker appliances.
The second phase of the program begins in July. This phase is specifically designed to cover furnaces and air conditioning units. Some have wondered why not launch the program in the winter, when people may have more motivation to purchase furnaces, or a bit later to allow purchase of a new air conditioning unit? Still, the program should get some traction.
The program only covers Energy Star-rated appliances, and according to the Office of the Secretary of Commerce, North Carolina has a budget of $8.8 million for the program. When the money runs out, the program is over. If you’re thinking about a kitchen makeover, new appliances for your new home, or just some fresh energy efficient appliances, you may want to wait a few months to see what kind of rebates might be effective.