For Immediate Release - June 21, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Makes $100,000 in Energy Efficient Appliance Rebates Available to Tornado-Impacted Communities

Rebate program to waive appliance turn-in requirement, dedicate $100,000 for residents of 29 western and central Massachusetts communities

BOSTON - Monday, June 20, 2011 - Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today directed the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to dedicate $100,000 under the Massachusetts Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program in targeted appliance rebate opportunities for residents of cities and towns hit by devastating tornados earlier this month. The program is set to launch on July 28.

Two weeks ago, DOER announced a new rebate program for Massachusetts customers who purchase a new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator and/or room air conditioner to replace inefficient models. The program will offer rebates of $150 for refrigerators and $50 for room air conditioners. Following several days of discussions and meetings with residents and officials of the tornado-impacted area, Secretary Sullivan directed DOER to revamp the program to make it responsive to the needs of people whose homes and belongings - including, in many case, appliances - have been damaged or destroyed. As a result, DOER is waiving appliance turn-in requirements and setting aside $100,000 of the $2 million rebate pool for residents of the tornado-impacted areas.

"Having toured sites of the tornado devastation over the past couple of weeks with Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray, I am eager to deliver whatever assistance we can to these neighborhoods," said Secretary Sullivan. "Waiving the return requirement while setting aside a portion of the rebate funds we have available for energy efficient refrigerators and air conditioners is a small gesture, but one that can ease the hardship facing individuals and families in this area."

The rebate program, a follow up to last year's Great Appliance Exchange, is funded by a combination of a U.S. Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and funds available to promote energy efficiency from a nitrogen oxides cap and trade program established to reduce ozone pollution. The program is expected to fund approximately 20,000 rebates worth $2 million and is estimated to save around 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power 250 homes for a year.

"Western and Central Massachusetts consumers who qualify for these rebates will not only get the help they need this summer in the wake of destructive tornadoes, they will also save money for years to come with lower energy bills," said DOER Commissioner Sylvia. "I commend our contractor, Helgeson Enterprises, for being willing and nimble enough to redraw the lines of the rebate program in response to an urgent and unexpected need."

Rebates will be available on all ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators and room air conditioners, purchased on or after July 28. Customers who participate and who are eligible will receive a $150 rebate for refrigerators and $50 for room air conditioners. All those served by municipal light plants are eligible for these rebates. Those households served by the Cape Light Compact, National Grid Electric, NSTAR Electric, Unitil, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company are also eligible for an already existing $50 Mass Save rebate on their ENERGY STAR® refrigerator purchase. (The Mass Save refrigerator rebate is available only through www.MassSave.com, not through this program.)

While the program requires each purchaser to replace an existing refrigerator or room air conditioner to receive a rebate, the requirement to turn in an old appliance is waived for tornado area customers. Cities and towns included in the waiver area: Agawam, Belchertown, Blandford, Brimfield, Brookfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Brookfield, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Hampden, Holden, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Oxford, Palmer, Russell, Southbridge, Southampton, Springfield, Sturbridge, Wales, Webster, West Springfield, Westfield, and Wilbraham.

Prior to purchase, customers are encouraged to check how much rebate funding is available by going online to the rebate program website, where they'll be able to track the status of funds and their own rebate applications. There will also be a customer service center available for those who don't have access to the website. In addition, retailers can provide customers with real-time status of funding in-store.

The program will reserve $100,000 solely for customers who live in the tornado zone, ensuring targeted support for these communities. After the $100,000 is allocated, tornado-impacted customers may apply for the regular pool of rebate funds available to customers in the rest of Massachusetts.

Following a competitive procurement process, DOER selected Helgeson Enterprises, Inc. to administer the rebate program. Helgeson Enterprises has successfully managed ARRA-funded appliance rebate programs in 14 other states, including Colorado, Georgia, and Rhode Island, and has a robust national rebate fulfillment business. Based on Helgeson's experience with similarly-designed programs in other states, rebate funds are estimated to be available for a couple of weeks after the program launches.

Customers can follow the steps below to participate:

  • Customers can confirm the real-time availability of rebate funds via the program's website, the customer service phone line, or a registered retail location.
  • Customers outside of the tornado zone who purchase a new ENERGY STAR® room air conditioner on or after July 28 must bring in their old unit for recycling at the time of purchase, and certify on their rebate application that they have traded their old one in. This return/recycling component is waived for customers from tornado-impacted communities.
  • Customers who purchase a new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator on or after July 28 can accept delivery. Those outside of the tornado zone must certify on their rebate application that their old refrigerator has been hauled away.
  • Customers fill out a rebate application online, which places a hold on the requested funds. Those who apply via the customer service center will receive their completed application in the mail. The signed application, which includes certification that a refrigerator and/or room air conditioner has been traded in, is sent with proof of purchase(s) to Helgeson Enterprises Inc. The return/recycling component is waived for customers from tornado-impacted communities.
  • Receipt and progress of the application can be tracked online or via the service center.
  • Rebate payments are sent via U.S. mail.

The 2011 Massachusetts Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program is a limited time only offer that ends when the funding is fully exhausted. Funding is limited to $2 million and rebates are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Old appliances don't need to be in working condition when exchanged for more efficient models. They will be recycled after trade-in.

The federal Recovery Act allocated $6.2 million to Massachusetts to administer an Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program designed to spur household energy savings by taking high energy consuming home appliances out of service and replacing them with qualified ENERGY STAR® models. Since appliances are among the heaviest energy users in most homes, the program is expected to yield significant annual energy savings for consumers who participate. Massachusetts delivered the first round of its Recovery Act-funded appliance program in 2010. More than 20,000 rebates were fulfilled, but not all of the funding was used, creating the need for the 2011 program.