Early Light: Today is Earth Day. Go hug a tree!

EarthDayAnimation

Today is Earth Day and it’s a good day to replace any appliances that are on the blink.

 seear_logo Beginning today, appliance dealers will be offering rebates from $50 to $200 if you must replace major appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators. You can also save money on your utility bills since the newer appliances are more energy efficient.

Approximately $2,800,000 will be offered for rebates on new energy efficient appliances in Mississippi. When the money runs out the program end.  So don’t snooze, or you lose.

My dryer is on its last leg and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t shoot it and put it out of its misery so I can get a new one before the rebate money runs out. 

I’m not sure how I feel about this program. With schools and states hurting for money, is this the best use for our tax dollars?  Some would say –  “But it’s federal dollars!”  Well, you know who is paying for it – YOU!  Hopefully in the long run it will conserve energy and pay off.

Since December, when Delaware became the first state to launch its Cash for Appliances effort, 35 states have followed suit. Of those, nine have already exhausted their funding, including five that saw demand so high all funding was reserved in a few hours.

But today, nine states including Mississippi will begin their programs in efforts designed to coincide with Earth Day. That’s the most states to launch in one day and it will leave only five states — along with Washington D.C. and three U.S. territories — yet to launch their own programs.

Two Different Outcomes

Among those states starting Thursday is the California appliance rebate program, which is by far the most expensive program in the United States with $35.3 million.

The next biggest program is Texas with $23.3 million and New York With $18.7 million.

While Texas’ program was exhausted within six hours of reservations being available April 7, New York’s not only lasted through its first day, but was extended indefinitely beyond its scheduled 10-day run.

The New York appliance rebate program, known in the state as the Great Appliance Swap Out, launched Feb. 12 to lukewarm response.

As of Wednesday morning, about $3 million of the original $18.7 million remained in the program.

Greener Appliances On Earth Day

The other states joining California in launching on Earth Day include Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and my own Mississippi.

The programs are funded by nearly $300 million in federal stimulus funding. The effort is designed to stimulate the economy while also encouraging consumers to save energy through the use of a more efficient appliance. Frankly, I think these dollars  could be used better somewhere else – like feeding the hungry and housing the poor.

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