Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina residents planning to purchase new, energy efficient appliances will be eligible to receive rebates ranging from $50 to $500 starting Wednesday through the state's portion of the federal stimulus program.
At AVAC in Myrtle Beach, they are hopeful that the program will bring in more potential customers looking to cash in on the rebates.
"It's a good kick start if somebody is ready to buy and they're kind of on the fence about what they're going to do today," President Keith Ferrell said.
"We've been getting calls all day long. People asking about the appliances. Asking how long we think it's going to be running for," said sales manager Joel Snipes.
Many dealers are concerned, however, that the sluggish economy is not yet ripe for widespread buying.
"If your refrigerator is working and you're having a hard time making a house payment, $100 may not prompt you do and make a purchase of that size at this time," Eddie Parker with PCW Appliances said.
"I'm not so sure if the savings is going to justify the lower income guy to step up and spend the extra $200 or $300 to get an extra $100 back," Ferrell agreed.
Both Ferrell and Parker say they are looking forward to any additional boost in sales the rebate program may bring.
The rebates for new ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters and other appliances are funded by South Carolina's share of the $300 million in federal stimulus funds being distributed to each state for appliance rebates. A total of $3.9 million will be available in South Carolina for rebates.
"You're not only saving money up front on the unit. The reason for the ENERGY STAR is for the energy savings you're going to be saving over the years time," said Snipes.
The Energy Office also launched a new tool which will help South Carolina residents participate in the federal appliance rebate program, locate participating retailers and contractors and learn more about energy efficiency.
The web site includes more information about the program which will begin March 31, and continue until all funds are exhausted.
"We hope this web site will be a useful tool that will enable South Carolinians to locate a retailers and contractors participating in the program," said John Clark, Director of the Energy Office. "In addition, the web site will serve as a resource to citizens as they learn more about energy efficiency."
As retailers and contractors sign up with the Energy Office to participate, they will be added to a list which will be available to the public on the web site. Individuals interested in receiving rebates should be able to find these participating locations and contractors starting in February.
For appliances bought in a store, the rebate will be applied instantly when the customer goes to the register. Installers of whole-house equipment such as water heaters and HVAC systems will reserve rebates online and then provide customers with mail-in forms. An electronic system will track each rebate issued. Rebates will not apply to online purchases or purchases made prior to March 31, 2010.
Rebate levels were determined based upon the cost difference between a standard and an Energy Star appliance. Energy Star qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10–15 percent less energy and water than standard models.
Customers who purchase a new appliance must turn in the old item. Stores and contractors participating in the rebate program must agree to recycle all old appliances in accordance with standard industry practice. Recycling is required to ensure that inefficient appliances are removed from the power grid.
Retailers and contractors who are interested in participating in this program should contact Rebecca Griggs, appliance rebates coordinator, at 803-737-8326, or email email@example.com.