By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - West Texans hoping to cash in on the state's Appliance Rebate Program are out of luck. Those rebates for buying energy efficient appliances went like hotcakes.
For those who managed to reserve or get on the wait list for the Texas Trade Up Appliance Rebate Program, they probably felt like they won the lottery. Lots of people, a phone and online interruption, and only about 23 million dollars allotted by the Federal Government for Texans to upgrade to energy efficient appliances. However, if you did manage to get on the list for a rebate, it's extra money to throw out the old and install the new.
"They're great products, and anybody who has already owned an Energy Star product would already know that and you can drastically see the difference on your bills and see the reduction of energy use in your home," Samuel Wilkins, appliance specialist at Midland's Best Buy, said.
Thousands of Texans are already taking advantage of the rebate program meant to save energy and money you use in your home every day. Refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers are all part of the program. Just as long as they have the Energy Star rating.
However, no one could anticipate just how fast the rebates would go.
With more than 38 million Web hits and nearly 39,000 rebate reservations made, the State Comptrollers Office announced all reservations and wait list were filled. Officials said there may have been a web attack that delayed the online reservation system. It wasn't much easier on the phone.
"We were expecting very high demand. Certainly the demand we started seeing at 7 AM this morning was higher than expected. Right off the bat, we were getting about a thousand calls a minute through our phone lines," R.J. DeSilva, with the State Comptroller's Office, explained. "As the hours went on we just added to our rebate vendor a hundred extra call takers as well to be able to handle the extra, just the phone traffic."
If you were one of the lucky ones to get a spot, all you have to do is buy your eligible Energy Star appliance between April 16th and April 25th. The money you'll get back depends on the appliance, but you'll also get 75 dollars back for recycling the old one.
State officials say if you missed reserving a rebate for a new appliance, they said there are a number of other programs to help you save money. Just visit: http://www.texaspowerfulsmart.org/