Appliance Program Begins Friday AM

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Ohio's version of 'Cash for Clunker Appliances' offers rebates of 100-250 dollars to buyers of five types of energy-savers, including water heaters and refrigerators.

Federal stimulus money will provide nearly 90,000 rebate opportunities, aimed at lowering statewide consumption rates and increasing new appliance sales, which are down about 15 percent this year.

But unlike other participating states, Ohio's Department of Development has created a model that all but guarantees a rush on stores - by making the rebates valid for just a few hours after registration. Bethany Close is the department spokesperson.

"What we didn't want is someone to sit on the rebate and then eventually not use it. After the 72 hours it goes back into the pool so that other people who are actually going to purchase an appliance could get a rebate number."

More than 500 retailers statewide are set to accommodate the anticipated rush, with some major chains opening early. Independent retailer Snow Brothers will go all out, extending hours, adding computers for in-store registration, and opening on Sunday when it's usually closed.

Critics of the appliance rebates claim the benefits of the program don't justify the cost.
But Ohio is getting praise for requiring the old appliances be recycled to get the rebate.

Ohio is one of America's largest appliance-making locations, and the pumped-up nationwide demand is expected to keep thousands of people on the job.

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