Is the price of a new refrigerator preventing you from scrapping your old one?
Don’t let it. In many states, utility companies give their customers significant cash rebates when they trade in the old for the new. Why? Because it saves utilities money in the long run. When you use energy efficient appliances, utilities don’t have to build as many new power plants to meet increased demand. In other words, if a utility can use the same amount of energy to power 100 customers as they did to power 50 or 75, they can continue to earn money without needing to incur new construction expenses.
When you switch to a more energy-efficient appliance, you win, too. First, you’ll save money on energy. Second, you’ll also do your part to protect the environment, especially where clean air and climate change related to burning fossil fuels for electricity are concerned.
Let’s use my situation as an example.
After 27 years, my refrigerator needed to be replaced. Pepco, the utility company that serves my suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood, was offering two rebates – one worth $150 for buying the most energy-efficient refrigerator to meet my needs, and one worth $50 to recycle my old fridge for me. Yes, they would actually pay me to cart my old refrigerator away!
With that $200 in mind, I went shopping. Because of size restrictions in my kitchen, I was limited to a refrigerator about 21 cu.ft. large. I looked at all the available options in store and online, and ultimately chose the most energy-efficient model in that size, a Whirlpool. The original sales price was $849. But with the $200 cash rebate I also earned, the final price of a brand new fridge was only $649 (plus local taxes).
When the new refrigerator was delivered, the delivery company moved my old fridge to the back porch. A couple of days later, a contractor for Pepco came by and took the used appliance away. Within eight weeks I’d received two checks for the $200 total.
I happily pocketed the money. But I’m enjoying another financial benefit, as well. EPA estimates that my new refrigerator is so efficient, it will only cost me $39/year to operate! How can you beat that?
To determine what rebates your utility offers, go to the home page of the company’s website and search “appliance rebates.” If you can’t find options online, call the utility to ask about any incentives they offer to encourage consumers to save energy.