11 March 2010

Stores Hope Cash For Appliances Brings Big Business

Ozarks First
(Springfield, MO) -- Remember Cash for Clunkers? Missouri is rolling out Energize Missouri, a cash for appliances program.

Missouri plans to launch the program in mid-April. It will give rebates to customers who upgrade to energy-efficient appliances.
If you buy an Energy Star-rated appliance, stores will pick up your old machine and recycle it, and you'll get a rebate for upgrading.

Stores say act fast because they're expecting big business.

As Ozarkers built fewer new homes last year, appliances stayed on the showroom floor.

"It wasn't one of our better years," Judy Bilyeu of Metro Appliances And More says. "It pretty much came to a screeching halt."

The housing market is now on the rebound and builders are seeing an uptick in remodeling projects.

"It's wonderful. It's like the sun's coming out," Bilyeu says.

She hopes the cash for appliances program will jump-start sales as customers grab up rebates.

"Everybody's looking for energy-efficient and ways to save dollars or pennies," shopper Louella Wilson says.

Like car owners traded in their clunkers for gas-savers, homeowners can exchange older models for Energy Star-rated machines.

"Up to $1,500, so if you're going to do an entire kitchen remodeling job, it's not going to apply to everything you're going to buy," Bilyeu says.

The state allotted $5.6 million for the program. Store managers say be sure to act early before the money runs out.

"Early is the key," Bilyeu says. "It's hard to know how long that's going to last. If it will run out in the first two days of the promotion."

Rebates are on a first-come, first-serve basis so interested buyers need to start the cycle now.

"The state has proposed to actually take reservations up front," Bilyeu says.

Before stores run out of merchandise.

"We've seen some of the builders and local home remodeling contractors who honestly weren't doing much of anything in the past six months start to make their phone calls," Bilyeu says.

Or before the state shuts the door on rebates.

The state plans to start this program April 19 to coincide with the annual Show-Me Green sales tax holiday. That way, customers can hopefully get the rebate and not pay sales tax.

Customers need to save receipts because next year, they're eligible for a credit on their income taxes for buying energy-efficient products - especially large-ticket items like ovens and water heaters.

We do need to note that the program does not include refrigerators or freezers. But also starting in April, City Utilities will pick up and recycle working units at no cost to customers. Plus, they'll get a $35 rebate for participating. CU expects to recycle 2,800 refrigerators and freezers through the program. It's expected to reduce the electric demand on the CU system by 432 kilowatts per year.

Missouri DNR's website says:

Each state and U.S territory was allowed to design its own unique rebate program and select eligible products and rebate amounts on household and kitchen appliances. Missouri's plan outlines which ENERGY STAR appliances will be included in the program, rebate levels for each product, how rebates will be processed and a recycling plan for old appliances.

The Energize Missouri Appliance Rebates program will help Missourians buy appliances at lower costs, reduce home utility expenses and benefit Missouri businesses by stimulating sales of energy efficient appliances. To learn more about the program, visit the department's Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet.

The department will issue rebates for the following items that are ENERGY STAR qualified. Purchases of these ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment prior to the start of the program in Missouri will not be eligible for rebates. After commencement of the program, rebates will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until all rebate funding is depleted.  Eligible appliances include:

    * Gas Furnaces - $125
    * Air Source Heat Pumps - $250
    * Central Air Conditioning - $100
    * Water Heaters-Gas Condensing - $150
    * Water Heaters-Gas Storage - $100
    * Water Heaters-Gas Tankless - $100
    * Water Heaters-Solar (With Gas Backup) - $500
    * Water Heaters-Electric Heat Pump - $150
    * Water Heaters-Solar (With Electric Backup) - $500
    * Clothes Washers - $75
    * Dishwashers - $75

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