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Now It’s Cash for Refrigerators August 25, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Energy.
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Yesterday marked the conclusion of the Administration’s Cash for Clunkers program; but as one rebate program winds down, another is preparing to begin. The new program will allocate $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state-run rebate programs for consumer purchases of qualified home appliances.

This cash for refrigerators program – as many call it – will offer rebates from $50-$200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances which meet the Energy Star requirements established by the government in 1992.

The Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, said upon the program’s announcement:

Appliances consume a huge amount of our electricity, so there’s enormous potential to both save energy and save families money every month. These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Similar rebate programs already exist in over 25 states. The $300 million in federal funds, which come from the Stimulus Bill, will add money to the coffers of those programs, or will create entirely new programs in the other states.

This is an excellent program because upgrading our country’s old appliances will save energy, money (for both the utility and the consumer), and also improve the environment. Indeed, the latest refrigerators cost about one third the money, and use only one third the energy of outdated refrigerators (those made before 1993) according to Energy Star’s savings calculator.

The Department of Energy expects most of the funds to be awarded by the end of November. In order to successfully stimulate the American economy, it is paramount that consumers only receive rebates for appliances manufactured in America. In this way, American jobs will be preserved or created, and more money will remain in the hands of American consumers, companies, and governments.

This program is another example of Stimulus money being spent wisely and productively. At once the initiative will spur domestic production, increase employment, and make our economy leaner and greener. The Obama Administration should be commended for this initiative, which addresses multiple policy objectives in an integrated manner. More programs like this must be implemented in order to continue making positive steps towards revitalizing the American economy.