Washington - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is largely expected to approve state-level plans to administer its $300 million appliance rebate program, laying the way for a rollout as early as Nov. 30, majap executives say.
All 50 states, plus six U.S. territories, submitted applications by the government's Oct. 15 deadline to participate in the federal subsidy plan.
The program, which incentivizes consumers to purchase efficient, Energy Star-rated home appliances, water heaters and light bulbs, is expected to have "a major impact on sales," said John Farley, senior brand and trade marketing manager for Bosch Home Appliances. Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Farley said the rebates could spur as much as a 10 percent to 20-percent lift at retail.
Doug Moore, president of Sears Home Appliances, said the chain is "pretty excited about reaching this point in the timeline," and believes the $300 million budgeted for the program represents "a material amount" of unit volume.
"It could be very meaningful, depending on where it's targeted by the states," he said during the briefing.
While no official launch date has been set by DOE, the executives believe the program can launch as early as Nov. 30, with additional promotional windows possibly scheduled around Presidents Day and Earth Day.
Consumers looking to trade up their present appliances may put off purchases in anticipation of the new rebates, they acknowledged. But those who need to replace a failing product, or don't wish to wait, can take advantage of current Energy Star rebates and aggressive sales promotions, while reaping immediate savings from higher-efficiency models, they said.
Unlike the automotive industry's "cash-for-clunkers" program, there is no mandate for recycling old appliances under the DOE's majap rebate plan. Individual states may offer consumers additional incentives to safely dispose of their used products, Farley said, while Sears, and other dealers, already have environmentally responsible haul-away programs in place, noted Moore.
Many shoppers also opt to carry-out their white-goods purchases, he added, putting the onus for proper disposal on the consumer.
Sears and Bosch are also adding pages to their Web sites to help consumers understand the rebate rules within their own states, the executives said. Rebates are expected to range between $50 and $100 per home appliance depending on the type of product and its Energy Star rating.