It took Nevada residents less than two weeks to grab $2.5 million in federal rebates for energy-efficient appliances.
The government's cash for appliances program, which offers households up to $600 in savings on Energy Star products, is aimed at helping the environment while giving a boost to local retailers.
The stimulus program was launched in Nevada on April 17, and by Thursday morning, all of its available funds were gone -- at least for now.
Sean Sever, outreach coordinator for the Nevada State Office of Energy, said he expects many people who reserved rebates won't follow through on replacing existing appliances with new ones.
"For that reason, we're encouraging as many people as possible to sign up for a waiting list," Sever said.
That can be done at www. NevadaApplianceRebate.com or by phone at 1-877-273-6213.
Sever said the energy office plans to hand out about 15,500 rebates for refrigerators ($200 each), freezers and washing machines ($150 each), and dishwashers ($100 each). Nevada residents are permitted to apply for one rebate per appliance type per address.
But a reservation for a rebate is only the first step in the process.
Next comes a 14-day window for applicants to buy an eligible product at one of about 20 participating retailers, which include national chain stores. A list of qualifying models can be found at www.energystar.gov.
After submitting a receipt for the newly purchased item, rebate-seekers have another two weeks to show proof of proper disposal of an appliance being replaced.
Only then will approved applicants get rebates.
Appliances purchased outside Nevada or before April 17 are not eligible for the program.
Compared to residents of other states, Nevadans were slow to act on the rebate offer. In Florida, for example, $17.5 million in rebates were reserved in less than two days.
Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said he's optimistic that the rebate program will benefit retailers.
"Any time you inject a couple million dollars into the retail economy, it's absolutely a good thing," he said. "But it's a little too soon to say exactly what its effect will be."
Wachter said the program's economic benefits will depend partly on whether rebate recipients are consumers who would not have otherwise bought energy-efficient appliances.
The rebates in Nevada and other states are being funded with $300 million from the American Recovery and Investment Act.
The U.S. Department of Energy says Energy Star clothes washers can save households about $130 a year. And an energy-efficient refrigerator can decrease annual energy costs by $65, according to the DOE.
Contact reporter Alan Maimon at amaimon @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0404.