By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
Appliance retailers expect a boost in business next month in what could be called Cash for Clunkers, part two.
But instead of trading a high-mileage gas guzzler for a nifty new car, consumers will get government-funded rebates if they replace their energy-guzzling appliances with new, efficient ones.
“We’re excited about it,” said Robert Hughes, store manager of Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City in Tupelo. “We’re going to do some extra promotions to go along with it, and we expect a good response.”
The program, however, is different in each state. In Mississippi, it’s called the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, or SEEARP, and launches April 22.
For SEEARP, the state received $2.8 million, allocated through last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Rebates range from $50 to $750, depending on the appliance.
Customers won’t get the rebate on the spot. Instead, they’ll have 14 days to call a toll-free number to reserve a rebate.
“They’ll be getting a pre-paid Visa card, where they can spend anywhere,” said Mike Eaton, owner of A-1 Appliance in Tupelo. “It’s just like money.”
Karen Bishop of the Mississippi Development Authority, which is overseeing SEEARP, said customers will have to send in proof of purchase, such as a copy of the receipt.
“But it is first come, first served, so it’s important to reserve a rebate as quickly as possible,” she said.
Bishop also said it’s also critical that customers and retailers know that any new appliances bought before April 22 are not eligible for a rebate.
Carla Bonner, co-owner of Triangle Appliance Center in Tupelo, said customers have been asking about the program for “quite some time.”
Hughes and Eaton also said interest has been building since the program was initially announced several months ago.
“What’s even better is that manufacturers also have their own rebates that can be combined with this rebate, so the customers can save even more,” Hughes said.
Eaton added that federal energy credits might also apply.
“So you can double or triple dip on rebates and credits,” he said.
But not all appliances are eligible for the SEEARP rebate.
“You’ve got washing machines, but not dryers, for example,” Hughes said.
And Bishop also said the SEEARP rebate is specific to Mississippi residents and retailers only. For example, an Alabama resident who busy an appliance from a Mississippi retailer won’t be eligible for the state rebate.
Likewise, a Mississippi resident who buys from an Alabama retailer can’t get the Mississippi credit either.
“There are a lot of stories in the media talking about the appliance rebate program, but there’s a lot of misinformation,” Bishop said. “Each state has its own rebate program, and customers need to be aware of that.”
Three states – Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota – have already closed their programs.