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Georgia appliance rebate program approved

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The U.S. Department of Energy recently approved Georgia's plan for the State Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program, and awarded the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) $9.3 million to put it into place.

According to Shane Hix, director of public affairs for GEFA, the rebate program will begin on Feb. 12, 2010, and will allow Georgia consumers to get between $25 and $199 back on the purchase of eligible ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. In order to receive a rebate, the appliances must be purchased on, or after, Feb. 12.

"The State Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program will encourage Georgians to purchase energy-efficient appliances," Phil Foil, executive director of GEFA, said in a statement. "In addition to conserving energy and water, these appliances also help to lower utility bills."

Georgia's program provides rebates on ENERGY STAR-rated clothes washers, dishwashers, air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, refrigerators and freezers, Hix said.

He said the rebate program will help Georgia's economy in two ways. "There is the incentive to purchase ENERGY STAR appliances that are more energy efficient, [and] through rebate, they will receive a Visa card that they will be able to ... put back to the economy as well," Hix said.

When consumers purchase an ENERGY STAR appliance, they must then apply for the rebate by visiting www.GeorgiaRebate.com, or calling 1(866) 296-1633, a toll-free number. Once consumers complete the application, a rebate form will be provided through the web site, or delivered by U.S. mail.

Hix said the rebate form, and a copy of the consumer's sales receipt, must be mailed to the address that is provided on the rebate form. The receipt must show the appliance was bought on Feb. 12 or thereafter.

According to Hix, consumers will be able to check how much is available in the state's rebate fund by visiting www.GeorgiaRebate.com, or by calling the toll-free number. Both the web site, and the toll-free number, will provide individuals with an estimate of the funds still available, and the approximate number of days until the funds are depleted. The rebates will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The state of Georgia is expecting to award approximately 100,000 rebates, Hix said.

After mailing in the necessary documents, consumers will receive their rebates in two to three weeks in the form of a prepaid Visa card, he said.

"We expect it [the funds] to go pretty quickly," said Hix.

Rebates will be limited to one rebate per appliance type, per household, he explained.

"For example, a consumer who purchases a qualified ENERGY STAR washer and a qualified ENERGY STAR refrigerator would qualify for two rebates, as long as two of the same appliance type were not purchased," Hix said in a statement.

The maximum amount a household can receive in rebates is $1,200, he said.