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$1.5M in appliance rebates still available

Local residents can take advantage of the more than $1.5 million in appliance rebates still available and get an energy saving appliance.

Alabama was limited to about $4 million in rebates from federal stimulus funds from the Department of Energy as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, or residents who buy energy efficient appliances with the Energy Star rating.

As of noon Friday, residents had reserved some 61 percent of funds.

The program began Monday and will run through May 9, but could end sooner, if the stimulus money runs out.

The rebate amounts are: $25 for room air conditioners; $50 for freezers; $75 for dishwashers; $100 for clothes washers; and $150 for refrigerators.

Sears owner Allen Jones said he saw an increase in sales of 250 percent on Monday, which was the first day purchases qualified for the Alabama Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.

“(Monday) was a great day,” he said. “But (Tuesday) was slower. On Monday we opened our doors at 6 a.m., and we had some people waiting. Wednesday through Friday were busy again.”

Jones said in addition to the rebates the state is offering, and he is offering a special sale, which takes 30 percent off all Energy Star appliances – a move he thinks will bring in customers.

Cooperative Propane spokesman Benny Gay said the store has seen some increased traffic.

“We aren’t offering any additional incentives off our everyday low prices and free delivery,” he said. “We’ve actually been told that some of the big box chains have increased their prices and delivery fees in view of the rebate program.”

Shannon Gooden, spokeswoman for Southeast Alabama Gas District said the company hasn’t seen that big of an increase.

“We haven’t seen a quantifiable increase in our traffic,” she said. “But, we have had a number of inquires about energy efficiency.”

Statewide, appliance retailers have reported an increase in sales this week as a result of the program.

Rebates for purchases of Energy Star-labeled refrigerators are the most popular, with 7,010 rebates reserved, followed by 5,302 rebate reservations for clothes washers.

“In general, we are promoting energy efficiency,” Gooden said. “It is best for our community.”

Potential customers should know that they must pay the retailer full-price for the appliance and then fill out and print a rebate form, which must be mailed, in order to receive a rebate.

Rebates are only for Energy Star-rated room air conditioners, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and refrigerators.

Jones said he and his staff have been helping customers fill out their rebates, so all they have to do is drop it in the mail.

For those who need a rebate or wish to reserve their rebate, can visit the Web site at alrebates.com or by calling 1-877-865-6645.