Maryland’s Cash for Appliances kicks off on Earth Day

Save on energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers and certain water heaters

April 18, 2010|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

Environmentalists and economists alike are hoping Maryland's version of the rebate program known as Cash for Appliances entices residents to invest in super-energy-efficient appliances — boosting the economy while reducing electricity use.

The state's version of the federal stimulus-funded program begins Thursday — Earth Day — and it will continue until the $5.4 million has been distributed, which could take several months, depending on consumer demand. Maryland's program offers state residents $50 rebates for eligible refrigerators, $100 if they buy qualifying clothes washers and $300 for Energy Star electric heat pump water heaters.

Consumers first need to figure out what models are eligible, how to apply for the rebate and whether they qualify for any additional rebates or credits. After buying a qualifying appliance, consumers will need to fill out the rebate form and mail it to their utility for processing.

Such appliances are less costly to run. The average U.S. family could save almost $300 a year by switching to an electric heat pump water heater, according to the Maryland Energy Administration. Those who buy super-efficient fridges or washers could save more than $300 over the lifetime of the appliance.

Links to lists of qualifying models are available on the MEA Web site (

You can buy your appliance at any Maryland store or order it online — but you'll have to pay Maryland sales tax to qualify for the rebate. Retailers will have brochures about the program and rebate applications, said Christina Twomey, an MEA spokeswoman.

Some stores are planning big promotions tied to the rebate, such as Sears, which plans to open Maryland stores at 6 a.m. Thursday. Lowe's Home Improvement Centers will take 10 percent off all Energy Star-rated major appliances.

And starting Thursday, customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Pepco, Allegheny Power, Delmarva Power and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative will be able to print copies of the rebate forms from their utility's Web site. These utilities will process rebate program applications for their customers.

Customers of Choptank Electric Cooperative or municipal utilities should go to MEA's Web site to get the applications.

Only purchases made on or after Thursday will qualify for the rebate — none will be issued retroactively. You may redeem only one rebate per household per type of appliance, and your rebate check will arrive within eight to 10 weeks.

People who apply will be required to certify that they plan to stop using their current appliances — no reselling the washer or putting the fridge down in the basement for additional cold storage allowed.

BGE will pay consumers $50 to pick up and recycle their fridges. Retailers such as Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's and Best Buy also offer to haul away the old appliance and recycle it, although some might charge an additional fee.

Large utilities are offering additional rebates that could further reduce the cost of buying a more energy-efficient appliance. Contact the utilities directly to find out how to apply. Consumers who buy electric heat pump water heaters also might qualify for a federal tax credit.

State rebates on some appliances

Maryland will begin offering rebates on some types of Energy Star certified appliances beginning April 22. The state rebates are $100 for clothes washers, $50 for refrigerators and $300 for electric heat pump water heaters. Additional rebates are available from some utility providers. Below are the total rebates available, including both the state and utility portions: UtilityClothes washersRefrigeratorsWater heaters Allegheny Power $175*$100***$300 BGE$150$100**$300 Delmarva Power$100$100$300 Pepco$100$100$300 SMECO$150$100**$325 Choptank Electric Cooperative/Municipal utility$100$50$300 * Models with modified energy factor of 2.0 or higher ** Utilities offer an extra $50 rebate for refrigerator recycling *** Utility requires refrigerator recycling and offers an additional rebate of $35

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