Additional $1 million to be paid out to Marylanders in appliance rebates

$5.4 million in federal money was originally allocated

December 16, 2010|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

An additional $1 million is expected to be paid out to Marylanders in rebates as part of the federal stimulus program known as "cash for appliances," state energy officials announced Thursday.

Originally $5.4 million was allocated to Maryland for energy-efficient appliance rebates under the American Recovery and Reinvestment program.

However, when the Maryland Energy Administration announced last month that the money had nearly run out, officials pledged to honor valid applications that were received by Nov. 12 by moving funds from the Clean Energy Economic Development Initiative program.

Two grants announced in February for the federal stimulus program were declined by their recipients so the money was reallocated to the appliance program, which stimulates retail and manufacturing, said MEA spokesman Ian P. Hines.

Since then, state utilities have processed applications for more than 18,500 clothes washers, 4,500 refrigerators and 6,000 central air conditioners and air source heat pumps to date, Hines said. In addition, there were applications for more than 3,000 air source heat pumps, more than 600 freezers and more than 150 room air conditioners.

The program is now over; applications were not accepted after Nov. 12.

Together, the appliances represented an estimated 9,000 megawatts of potential energy savings, since the rebates were only applicable to highly efficient models, according to MEA.

The totals exceeded expectations, with rebates ultimately exceeding the original allocation by nearly 20 percent, said program manager Lauren Swiston.

"When we set the stop date of Nov. 12, we expected there maybe another $100,000," she said.

To guard against fraud, applicants had to send their original receipts and the name on the application had to match the names on the utility bill, she said. The utilities also kept records to ensure customers did not apply for rebates for more than one of the same kind of appliance, she said.

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