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Quinn: $20 million retail boost in four hours

Friday, Apr 16, 2010

* Impressive. From a Quinn administration press release…

Participating retailers are reporting they have expended approximately $3 million dollars, or half of the available funds, in ENERGY STAR appliance rebates as of noon today, the first day of the program. A total of $6.2 million in rebates is available through the program. At least $20 million in new appliances were sold in the first four hours of the program.

Consumers are visiting their local participating retailers to take advantage of a 15 percent rebate (up to $400 per appliance) on ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers and room air conditioners. The program is designed to help Illinoisans reduce their energy consumption and provide a boost to local economies.

The state has designated approximately $6.2 million in rebates for the appliance portion of the program. The appliance rebate was made available today starting at 8 a.m.

Illinois received a total of $12.4 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement both phases of the program. The first phase, which is no longer available, offered rebates on water heaters and heating and cooling equipment. Since the start of the rebate program on January 31, over $35 million in water heater and HVAC sales have been pumped into the Illinois economy.

The Illinois ENERGY STAR Appliance Rebate Program is being managed by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) on behalf of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). DCEO has also partnered with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) to enroll and coordinate the retailers in the program. Over 600 retailers throughout the state have signed up to participate in the program.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 1:35 pm:

    I’m getting a new furnace, and the dude told me he can knock off about a grand in energy efficiency rebates. That’s real money.

  2. - Anon - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 1:36 pm:

    I’m a little skeptical. I wonder how many of these appliances were “pre-sold,” with today designated in advance as the date of sale.

  3. - Reality Check - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 1:51 pm:

    Ours wasn’t “pre-sold”, and at 730 in the morning we were 5th in line. Comical touch: Store had little PB&J canapes out to celebrate the occasion.

  4. - Lakefront Liberal - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    Dang — I was planning to get a new refrigerator but can’t do it until this weekend. At this rate I may not make it before the money runs out.

  5. - Wondering... - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:26 pm:

    More money out the window. And Quinn does a press release… like he/his admin had anything to do with it.

  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:28 pm:

    ===like he/his admin had anything to do with it. ===

    He proposed the idea, his administration set it up. Not sure what you mean there.

  7. - annon - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:28 pm:

    What a huge waste of money. While we are billions of dollars in the hole as a State, Gov. Quinn continues to run our State further into debt. I am positive this is the type of thing that is fueling resentment of government in Illinois.

  8. - Reality Check - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:30 pm:

    @wondering: More money out the window.

    It’s federal recovery money, like last year’s cash for clunkers program.

    @RM: He proposed the idea, his administration set it up.

    Are you sure? Isn’t the credit rightly to the president?

  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:31 pm:

    ===Isn’t the credit rightly to the president? ==

    Yep. Retract partially. He pushed state involvement and his admin set it up here.

  10. - John Bambenek - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:39 pm:

    Didn’t the “cash for clunkers” program show us that all this did was shift sales, not increase them? Meaning overall, people just bought during the window when they likely would have bought anyway.

    I seem to recall seeing a vehicle sales slump after clunkers ended.

  11. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:45 pm:

    John, while surely some or even much of that was what you say, it also got a lot of inefficient vehicles off the road which otherwise would’ve been traded in.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    This program is a win for consumers, retailers, manufacturers and the environment.

    Folks need to take off their partisan blinders and stop criticizing it just because their party didn’t think of it first.

  13. - Amalia - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:49 pm:

    president proposed it, feds set up administration, state welcomed it, set up the state operation.

    since it seems to be going very well, kudos to all.

    and in terms of impact, tv news reports quote one very large
    retailer as saying that one hour today totaled a usual week
    of sales. I’d say that people are being smart and doing the buying fast, it’s a cash infusion, and it gets clunkers out of
    the energy stream. alll good.

    only wish our plans to rehab were further along to get a new stove now!

  14. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:55 pm:

    It simply shifts sales as John said. And although there are *some* energy efficiencies that can be gained from these purchases, one has to hold onto them for a long time for the savings to pay out.

    And the fact that people are swamping the system for “free” money (which we’ll pay for in the future anyway), suggests that the amount was way too high. If you were to subscribe to this type of inducement program, you’d ideally want the same amount of total money going to MORE people, thus selling more appliances, stimulating more sales, taking more inefficient machines out of service, etc.

    So even if you’re a champion of programs like this, the swamped demand shows the inducement should have been 1/3 or 1/2 of what it was.

  15. - annon - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 2:57 pm:

    Buying new vehicles produce a larger carbon footprint than if people would have continued to use their older cars until they were defunct. If a vehicle is already built than most of that footprint has already been expended. That is why the “Cash for Clunkers Program” was a complete waste of money. Being environmentally cognizant mean to recycle and reuse what you consume; not to go out and buy new stuff that produces more harm to the environment than just using what stuff you have. It makes no sense and is part of this fake feel good marketing we have seen arise over the last decade.

  16. - Brennan - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:18 pm:

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment act is the Democratic Party support fund for 2010. Phasing in the spending is by design. These programs do not “go live” until the White House sees a program initiative they like.

    The spending itself is bending the yield curve up. This will cost everyone that carries debt as the cost to service that debt will increase over time.

    =Folks need to take off their partisan blinders and stop criticizing it just because their party didn’t think of it first.=

    This is a sentiment that will crush the American economy. These spending measures are terrible for the environment. They do not reduce carbon emissions at all.

    The only person wearing “partisan blinders” is you. Don’t hate science like the Democratic Party.

  17. - Greg E - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:22 pm:

    In response to the second comment, there were no pre-sales on this program. Unlike some recent experiences with appliance rebate programs in other Midwest states, this one is in-store sales only with no pre-sales.

  18. - indupage - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:39 pm:

    RM said “it also got a lot of inefficient vehicles off the road which otherwise would’ve been traded in.”

    Thereby destroying the market for secondary parts and used cars (which are actually more affordable for most people)…buy hey, it’s just the Government’s money, so who cares.

  19. - Concerned Voter - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:40 pm:

    So, following the auto industry model, in a few months, will we see a federal bailout of Best Buy and Sears because there are no more people buying because the Fed money has dried up?

    I’m kidding, but seriously, with all the money the feda sre handing out in rebates, wouldnt they have been better of just to cut everyone a check and let them use it for whatever they wanted.

  20. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:42 pm:

    ===wouldnt they have been better of just to cut everyone a check and let them use it for whatever they wanted. ===

    Bush did that in 08. Not sure it accomplished much.

  21. - Going nuclear - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    Most Energy Star qualified appliances cost more initially, but they will save consumers money over their operating life. If the rebates help people make smarter choices and reduce energy use, I think it will be a good deal overall. And there will be an environmental benefit. The less energy we all use, the lower our demand on power plants, which means less pollution.

  22. - Wondering... - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:56 pm:

    It’s federal funds…

    >>> Illinois received a total of $12.4 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement both phases of the program

  23. - Wondering... - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 3:57 pm:

    Sorry… I see that was already pointed out.

  24. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 4:06 pm:

    –Buying new vehicles produce a larger carbon footprint than if people would have continued to use their older cars until they were defunct.–

    Just wrong. The old clunkers are the worst polluters. If you could get them off the road, many of use wouldn’t have to go through emissions testing every year. The small number that fail are the problem.

  25. - Brennan - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 4:29 pm:

    =wouldnt they have been better of just to cut everyone a check and let them use it for whatever they wanted.=

    The 2008 tax rebate checks were largely used to pay down personal debt. Americans were already reorganizing their finances to shift the the personal savings rate up.

    These Keynesian hail mary passes are solely designed to inflate away a deflationary environment. The primary motivation is to artificially inflate credit markets through the creation of new credit financing. The rebates give the buyer instant credibility.

    Maybe you’re one of the many Americans that is trying to save money. But this is perhaps the worst time to save money at all since the Fed is creating cheap money begging you to go borrow some to buy anything.

  26. - Brennan - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    =Just wrong. The old clunkers are the worst polluters. If you could get them off the road, many of use wouldn’t have to go through emissions testing every year. The small number that fail are the problem.=

    I take it you did not read the link to Wired at all.

  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 4:45 pm:

    Just wrong. The old clunkers are the worst polluters.

    If you simply compare one old car to one new fuel-efficient car, you’re right. But pull back and look at the larger picture. Look at the total aggregate energy costs & carbon footprint required to BUILD a new car–one that wouldn’t have been needed had the old one just been used for the rest of it’s natural life.

    It’s the same w/ electric cars–yeah, they are battery powered. But if the battery gets juice from a coal-fired power grid, you’re not accomplishing much.

    The rationale for these rebate programs are twofold:

    1) “Stimulate” the economy.

    It doesn’t. It simply distorts where people would put their money anyway. Even if it’s “free” federal money, we end up paying for it eventually. Short-term incentives such as these (and the cheesy Bush rebate checks) don’t really change consumer confidence all that much. People know it’s only a short term thing. Never mind that a big part of our problem was the lack of private savings and indiviuals living in their own personal credit bubble. Re-inflating the bubbles just don’t work.

    2) Incentivizing consumption of lower carbon-footprint goods. Even granting the threat of global warming & of excess C02, these programs are of dubious help.

    First, we need to look at overall carbon footprint that includes the manufacturing & recycling process. How many people does it take to mine the lithium that goes into the batteries? Does it take more energy to recycle the composite plastic rather than the metal that made up the appliance body? Does it take more workers and thus require more aggregate gasoline to get the workers to work to the factory? The calculations are endless….

    Second, look at the overall tonnage of C02 released each year. Even if each individual gadget has a lower lifetime C02 footprint from raw-matials to recycling, how much aggregate does that cut down compared to global output versus the economic damage it will do? If Russia or China are spewing millions of tons of C02 per day, do these domestic incremental programs even make a dent? If they do, is it worth the drain on the economy?

    I’m not saying I know all the answers here. But what I am saying is that neither does anybody else. And unless & until there’s a clear showing that it’s a benefit, we shouldn’t be tossing even more borrowed money into an unprove rabbit hole.

  28. - Prognosis Negative - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 5:03 pm:

    I’m not against this program, because I’m going to try to take advantage of it this weekend (if the money holds out). However, I’m not sure if I agree with the whole “this will help the environment” argument. Yes, it would help the environment if you REPLACED your old fridge with a more energy efficient one. But thats not how it works. You can buy a new fridge without replacing the old one and still get the rebate. In my case, the old fridge is going in the garage and will be my beer fridge. This won’t lower my carbon footprint, but it will keep more beer cold. Which in these turbulent times is very important.

  29. - annon - Friday, Apr 16, 10 @ 6:03 pm:

    Wordslinger, the science is clear, you cannot correct a carbon footprint buy creating another one. The majority of a vehicles carbon footprint is produced when the vehicle is manufactured. Thus, clunkers would be better used until defunct than to be replaced by a vehicle with a similar carbon footprint from manufacturing the vehicle. Simple mathematics suggest that someone would not want to build two vehicles to reduce carbon footprints of one.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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