Rebates lure buyers out in force

Program jump-starts sales of energy-stingy appliances

Appliance Factory outlet Manager Brad Willke shows Cheryl Radtke of Grand Junction some EnergyStar refrigerators as her son Zane waits. She hoped to cash in on a federal rebate being offered for energy-efficient appliances.

Rebates for energy-efficient appliances drew buyers out Monday for the first day of the Recharge Colorado program.

The promotion aimed at using federal stimulus money to help sell more appliances and reduce electrical demand had an immediate effect, said Jonathan Gray, sales manager at Appliance Factory Outlet, 2469 U.S. Highway 6&50.

“We had more sales than we did on Black Friday — a lot,” Gray said, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving start of the Christmas buying season.

Employees at Appliance Factory Outlet spent much of the morning helping customers apply for the rebates when the website went down temporarily under the crush of rebate applicants.

As of late Monday, had logged 9,045 rebate reservations.

Customers were in the market mostly for refrigerators, Governor’s Energy Office spokesman Todd Hartman said.

Cheryl Radtke was in the market for a new refrigerator, she said, as she walked up and down the aisles of refrigerators at Appliance Factory Outlet with store manager Brad Willms.

“My refrigerator is old,” Radtke. “It’s held together with duct tape. I knew I was going to come down here anyway and this (the rebate program) kind of gave me a push.”

Under the program, customers would get $50 for buying an Energy Star refrigerator and $50 more for showing proof that their old one had been recycled.

Clothes washers were in second place for rebates, Hartman said.

The chance to save some money — $75 on a new washer and dryer — got his attention, Erik Vliek said.

He knew he would have to buy the appliances, “but we would probably not have done it so soon,” Vliek said.

Colorado is devoting $4.5 million of $18 million in stimulus money to the rebate program.

The remaining $13 million is set aside for home energy efficiency audits, insulation and renewable energy, such as solar-energy installations, Hartman said.

Salespeople can help customers fill out rebate applications online, a process that takes about 10 minutes, Gray said.


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