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Texas appliance rebate program grows by $8.5 million

An extra $8.5 million is being pumped into Texas' upcoming appliance rebate program, swelling the total rebates offered to $18.5 million.

The program kicks off Monday, the day consumers can begin buying and getting rebates for new appliances that have a federal Energy Star designation signifying high energy efficiency. Rebates range from $40 to $1,000, depending on the appliance.

The Texas comptroller's office announced Wednesday that the program is adding $8.5 million from unused energy-efficiency funds provided by a large federal stimulus program. The rebate program will remain open until all the money is distributed.

An appliance rebate program conducted by the state in April elicited heavy criticism from consumers who couldn't get through online or by telephone to reserve rebates.

The new program will rely solely on mail-in applications.

Rebate application forms are available to download and print at www.texaspowerfulsmart.org.

"This is the fastest way for consumers to get a form," the comptroller's office said. "A link to the form has also been forwarded to retailers to assist customers at stores."

Forms can also be picked up at comptroller's field offices statewide. A list of offices is at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/fieldoff.html.

Consumers who cannot download a form can call an automated customer information line at 855-556-1312 and leave a message to have a form mailed to them.

An application form is not required at the time of purchase but is needed at installation.

Consumers who buy an Energy Star appliance must replace and dispose of an old appliance of the same type to get a rebate. An additional $75 rebate is available for recycling the old appliance.

Eligible Energy Star-certified appliances and the rebate amounts are: air-source heat pumps, $1,000; central air conditioners, $1,000; clothes washers, $100; dishwashers, $85; freezers, $100; refrigerators, $175; room air conditioners, $40; and water heaters, $300.

Rebate applications will be processed first come, first served based on the postmark on the rebate application envelope. The purchase receipt and the postmark must be dated on or after Monday.

Rebates are limited to two per household, which includes those from the April program. Each rebate must be from a different appliance category.

Jack Z. Smith, 817-390-7724

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