Appliance makers and retailers may see a spike in sales if the U.S. government’s appliance rebate program for trading in old appliances for new energy-efficient ones works like the “Cash for Clunkers” program.
The U.S. government’s stimulus package signed into law earlier this year includes $300 million to fund the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which offers rebates to consumers who buy Energy Star-rated appliances, reports Forbes.com (via Reuters).
Brian Sozzi, an analyst at Wall Street Strategies, told Reuters that the rebate program may spark appliance sales and help boost sales of Whirlpool’s lower-priced Maytag appliances, which has seen its sales fall since the economic downturn.
Jen Stutsman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Energy told Reuters that the rebates are expected to be available in late 2009 or early 2010. Details of the program including the amount of rebates still need to be worked out.
However, it’s expected that the rebates will range between $50 to $200 per appliance, reports CNBC.com. But unlike the “Cash for Clunkers” program, consumers will not have to turn in their old appliances in order to buy a more efficient one and to qualify for the rebate, reports the news site.
Energy Star-qualified appliances eligible for rebates include central air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, room air conditioners, clothes washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, and water heaters.
States had until August 15 to express their interest in participating in the program, and all 50 states are on board, according to an Energy Department spokeswoman, reports CNBC.com. They have until October 15 to complete their full application, after which they will receive 10 percent of the funds, and the balance after their program plans are approved.
Jill Notini, spokeswoman for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers told CNBC.com that she is hopeful the program will spur sales, which are down about 15 percent from last year.
The organization also is touting the savings that can come from using more efficient appliances, reports CNBC.com. Notini said in the article that by replacing an eight-year-old washing machine with an energy-efficient one, consumers can typically save 5,000 gallons of water and 600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is about $78 in annual savings.