New 'Cash for?' program targets old appliances

New 'Cash for?' program targets old appliances

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The federal government convinced a lot of people to get rid of their old cars. Now they're hoping to get people to turn in old appliances in exchange for rebates after purchasing a new Energy Star rated item.

Nationwide, $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be given out. Utah would get just over $2.6 million. Best Buy Sales Floor Supervisor Chris Herbert says this could spark a lot of sales.

"Maybe people will start coming in a little bit more and start to realize that appliances are changing. They're getting better," he said.

People shopping for appliances aren't like people looking for an iPod or a new TV. Herbert says appliance customers are a lot more savvy.

"They know exactly what they want. They know the Energy Star rating system. They know that it's going to save them money in the long run, and, with appliances, you do get people with papers and papers of research," Herbert said.

Rocky Mountain Power has a similar program which takes in old appliances; however, RMP gives incentive payments instead of rebates after a purchase. Company spokesman David Eskelsen says it has been extremely popular.

"Since we started that program in 2003 we have recycled more than 118,000 refrigerators," he said.

He says the program has drastically cut costs, also.

"We figure, for an investment of about $128 million over the last five years or so, we've helped customers save about 1.8 million megawatt hours," he explained.

An average customer uses nine megawatt hours a year.

The state will have to submit plans specifying which Energy Star appliances qualify, how the rebates will be issued and how the old appliances will be recycled. Each state will get roughly 10 percent of the funds after submitting their initial plan. The Department of Energy expects to give the rest of the money out by the end of November.


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Paul Nelson


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