Washington — The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are urging the federal government to move quickly in disbursing $300 million in funds earmarked for Energy Star rebates to help spur sales of major appliances.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the monies were set aside to fund a state-level consumer rebate program for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. The trade groups said the program will stimulate demand for home appliances, provide consumers with tremendous savings on the initial purchase price and long-term utility cost of appliances, and will also provide an important environmental benefit by way of a significant decrease in energy consumption.
“Once the states receive funding from DOE [the U.S. Department of Energy] for their rebate programs, consumers can begin to benefit from an immediate savings on the purchase cost of an Energy Star appliance and on utility bills,” said AHAM president Joseph McGuire. “AHAM urges the Department of Energy to quickly provide this stimulus funding to the states so they can get the money into the hands of consumers.”
In a joint letter to DOE, AHAM and RILA requested that the agency distribute the funds to state energy offices quickly and simply, and allow existing and new state programs the flexibility to establish programs that meet regional needs. The trade associations also provided DOE with broad guidelines for releasing the stimulus funds.
AHAM and RILA believe the benefit should also extend to consumers with non-working appliances and those who are upgrading to energy-efficient products before their current appliances cease to function.