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What you could get from S.C. rebate plan

The skinny on South Carolina's rebate for purchases of new, energy-efficient appliances, water heaters, and air conditioning and heating units. Program details were announced by the S.C. Energy Office on Wednesday:

How much of a rebate can I get?

Between $50 and $500, depending on the item. (For the full list of eligible items, see the accompanying box.)

When does the program start?

March 31.

When does it end?

Whenever the state's $3.9 million rebate allocation from federal stimulus funding is exhausted.

Can I get a rebate for something I bought before the program starts?

No. An electronic system will track rebates. All items must be purchased on or after March 31.

How do I get the rebate?

For appliances bought in a store, the rebate will be applied at the register. Installers of water heaters and heating and air conditioning systems will reserve rebates online and then provide customers with mail-in forms. Online sales are ineligible.

What are the requirements?

Rebates will be issued for new Energy Star-certified refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, water heaters, and heating and air units.

Look for the Energy Star label on the item. To check eligible Energy Star appliances and units, go to energystar.gov and click on "Explore Products."

Also, you must turn in the old item to make sure old appliances and units are off the power grid. Stores and contractors must recycle the old items.

What is an Energy Star appliance?

It is an appliance rated by the government to have technology that uses 10 percent to 15 percent less energy and water than standard models. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.

How were rebate amounts determined?

They were based on the cost difference between a standard and an Energy Star appliance.

Where can I get more information?

Go to www.appliancerebates.sc.gov. The S.C. Energy Office's site has rebate information and next month will add participating retailers and contractors, and a list of eligible products. The site also will have tips to boost energy efficiency.

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