Mixed Response to Appliance Rebates
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
A federal stimulus program that offers rebates to consumers who buy energy-efficient appliances is getting a mixed response, suggesting that it depends heavily on how states manage the initiative.
The program, included in the larger stimulus package, divvies up $300 million among the states, allowing them to set the parameters for how large the rebates will be and how long they will be offered. The idea is to spur the economy while encouraging energy conservation.
So far, states that are giving larger rebates seem to be seeing much greater demand from residents, USA Today reported this week .
In Iowa and Minnesota, demand was so strong that state Web sites crashed, with the rebates being scooped up in a matter of days. Both states offered rebates of $100 to $250 on items including dishwashers and washing machines.
Other states, including Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, still had more than 75 percent of their funds on hand, possibly because they are offering smaller rebates, often in the range of $50 to $100, on key items. A Michigan official told USA Today that the state expected the rebates to be issued within four months, but it now could take at least half a year.