For Immediate Release - October 20, 2009

Patrick-Murray Administration Outlines Plans for Home Appliance Energy Efficiency Rebate Program in Early 2010

Pending federal approval, stimulus-funded program would pay consumers cash for exchanging old energy-wasting clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers for highly efficient new ones

BOSTON - As part of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today unveiled plans to create a federal stimulus-funded rebate program that would reward consumers who swap energy inefficient household appliances for super-efficient new ones.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allocated $6.2 million to Massachusetts to administer an Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program designed to spur significant household energy savings by taking electricity-guzzling home appliances out of commission and replacing them with qualified ENERGY STAR models. EEA's Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has filed rebate program parameters with the US Department of Energy (DOE), which is expected to issue a decision on Massachusetts's proposal within the next several weeks. If approved, the Commonwealth plans to launch the program in February 2010.

DOER estimates that 27,000 old, inefficient appliances will be taken out of service as a result of the program, resulting in energy savings of 2.6 million kilowatt hours annually. The savings is the annual equivalent to eliminating 4.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide or enough energy to power 340 households for one year.

"Household appliances are big energy users, so switching to more efficient models will do much more than put cash rebates in consumers' hands," Secretary Bowles said. "The Patrick administration looks forward to partnering with Massachusetts retailers on a program that will save families money every month for years to come, while immediately stimulating local business and supporting jobs."

Once launched, DOER's efficient appliance program will continue as long as rebate supplies last and will apply to new purchases of eligible refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and clothes washers. Rebate levels will match the average incremental cost of energy efficient appliances relative to typical less efficient models. Old appliance turn-in and recycling is a key aspect of the program, which will be carried out by retailers and/or utility company efficiency programs. Returned appliances must be working when turned in for more efficient models, and then taken out of service.

"This rebate will allow families to save money, make their homes energy efficient, and protect our environment," said US Senator John Kerry. "This is exactly the kind of investment we intended when we passed the Recovery Act."

"As our nation continues to struggle with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, this program will benefits the families of Massachusetts and our environment," said US Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. "Our citizens will save money in the short term with the rebate, and in the long term as they reduce their energy bills by using appliances that are more efficient."

"This rebate program, if approved, would put an estimated $6.2 million in Recovery Act funds to good use assisting Massachusetts' families in reducing their energy costs through the purchase of efficient every-day household appliances like washing machines and refrigerators," said Congressman John F. Tierney. "I applaud the Commonwealth's proposed program and urge its favorable consideration by the Department of Energy."

A high visibility promotional program will precede the availability of rebates to ensure the broadest possible consumer participation. Only Massachusetts residents will be eligible for the rebates.

"This part of the Patrick Administration's Recovery Plan will immediately put money into the pockets of thousands of consumers, and provide long-term financial benefits down the road through energy efficiency," said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "This combination of household improvement, energy savings, and economic stimulus is a winning situation for everyone."

"As a result of the Green Communities Act, participation in utility-run energy efficiency programs are already expected to triple over the next three years," DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice said. "This federal recovery-funded program is a bonus - allowing the Commonwealth to leverage even more efficiency investment while supporting our nation-leading goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through lower energy use."

"The Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program is exactly the type of initiative that Massachusetts should be involved with," said state Sen. Marc Pacheco, chairman of the Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight. "This program will provide great opportunities for all of Massachusetts; consumers will have the opportunity to save money and energy on new appliances, retailers will be able to take advantage of this initiative and Massachusetts, as a whole, will be given the opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint. A program that helps stimulate the economy with new and efficient appliances that will cost less for consumers to utilize is an excellent program for Massachusetts to move forward with."

"This program will offer real savings for Massachusetts consumers and will also cut energy usage. This is another benefit for Massachusetts residents from the Federal Stimulus Program." said Rep. David Linsky, chairman of the Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight.

Investment in energy efficiency is a critical component of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

  • Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
  • Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future, and support clean energy, broadband, and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and

Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.