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2012 News Releases
Stimulus funds helped low-income Oregonians

​SALEM — Two state agencies helped 2,555 low-income homeowners from every Oregon county replace aging energy-inefficient appliances with new Energy Star appliances through a program funded with Recovery Act dollars. The Oregon Department of Energy and Oregon Housing and Community Services spent $3.6 million in federal funding for Oregon’s State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program that concluded in May.

“Oregon was in a unique position when the stimulus funds were appropriated by Congress in 2009,” said ODOE Recovery Act Manager Paul Egbert. “We are one of a handful of states that have had a successful Residential Energy Tax Credit program for several decades that provided an incentive for working Oregonians to buy premium efficiency appliances. So we wanted the appliance rebate program funds to target residents that didn’t benefit from the tax credit program.”

To qualify for the appliance rebate program, eligible Oregonians had to show proof of home ownership and income less than 60 percent of the state’s median income levels. For example, a family of four could earn up to $3,577.08 a month and still qualify.

For Carol and Elliott Scribner, a retired couple from Hines, the rebate was much appreciated. “Our old refrigerator was 30 years old. It was running all the time,” said Carol Scribner. The cost of a new refrigerator, however, was not in their budget. The Scribners qualified for the rebate program and purchased a new Energy Star model refrigerator. They saw an immediate decrease in their electric utility bill once the new refrigerator was installed.

“We saw many seniors apply, as they are generally homeowners and tend to keep their appliances for a longer period,” said Rebecca Sweetland, ODOE project manager for the rebate program. “However, we also received applications from qualified younger homeowners who were unemployed or underemployed and were struggling with high energy costs of old, inefficient appliances.”

The appliance rebate program paid for up to 70 percent (up to a maximum amount) for a qualifying Energy Star dishwasher, refrigerator, clothes washer, water heater, heat pump or furnace. It covered only the equipment cost, not installation costs. Applicants had to replace an existing appliance and show proof that the old appliance was recycled.

One goal of the program was to get older, energy-inefficient appliances out of the marketplace, according to Sweetland. Homeowners could not reuse or sell the old appliances.

Oregon Housing and Community Services work with Community Action Programs statewide and weatherize homes for low-income Oregonians. When a CAP audited an eligible home and found an appliance that was not working or was very inefficient, the CAP used rebate program funds to replace the appliance with an Energy Star model and the CAP paid for the installation charge.

Of the 3,213 new appliances purchased under the rebate program, 31 percent were heat pumps. Here is a breakdown of the appliances purchased:


Rebate Amount on Equipment only
70% up to $700
70% up to $400
Clothes washers
70% up to $800
Heat pumps (air source)
70% up to $2,000
70% up to $2,000
Water heaters (gas tankless)
70% up to $1,400
Water heaters (gas storage)
70% up to $1,400
Water heaters (electric heat pump)
70% up to $1,400


“The appliance rebate program targeted those Oregonians who needed the assistance the most,” said Egbert. “We were successful in eliminating 3,213 energy-inefficient appliances from the marketplace, which also helps the environment.”

Multnomah County had 548 eligible homeowners participate in the program, followed by the counties of Marion (376), Jackson (326), Washington (320) and Lane (292).

ODOE’s Residential Energy Tax Credit program continues to offer a credit on Oregon income taxes for residents who purchase qualifying equipment, including furnaces, heat pumps, water heaters, and wood and pellet stoves.

For more information, please visit the ODOE website: http://oregon.gov/energy/RESIDENTIAL/pages/residential_energy_tax_credits.aspx.

About the Department of Energy: The Oregon Department of Energy provides tax credits, grants, loans, technical assistance and energy information for homes, businesses, manufacturing, farms, ranches, schools and governme