What is the SEEARP?
The US Department of Energy provides federal stimulus funds for states to provide rebates for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. More than 70 percent of the energy used in homes is for appliances, refrigeration, space heating, cooling and water heating. Replacing old appliances and equipment with ENERGY STAR equipment can help American families lower their energy use and reduce their energy bills.
On January 1, 2010 Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), in partnership with Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), started its Appliance Rebate Program, which provides low?income Oregon homeowners with a “first come, first served” rebate of 70 percent (up to $2,000) for ENERGY STAR qualified heating systems.
The Oregon Department of Energy decided to use these particular grant funds to target low-income families, as many low income Oregonians do not have the money to update their homes, and as a result, never get to take advantage of these incentives.
(Note: Oregon already has a Residential Energy Tax Credit incentive program for all Oregonians who purchase high efficiency appliances.)
Who qualifies for this rebate program?
An applicant must be a homeowner. Eligible homeowners in Oregon are those earning less than 60 percent of the state’s median income levels. See chart below. For more information, you can contact: OHCS ? Energy Unit at toll free: 1?800?453?5511 (Press 2, Select 4), or e?mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each rebate will cover 70 percent, or up to $2000, per eligible furnace. Eligible appliances include Energy Star Gas Furnaces, as well as Energy Star Heat Pump Equipment (split system, package units, ductless split).
What if low-income Oregonians want to receive a rebate voucher, but do not wish to participate in Energy Assistance or Weatherization programs?
Income eligible households who do not wish to receive assistance through local programs, or do not want to be placed on waiting lists for appointments/services, have the option of requesting a stand-alone voucher. These households will be responsible for purchase and installation of their furnace, as well as redemption of their rebate (70% up to $2000) through the Oregon Department of Energy. Households interested in this option will be referred to Oregon Housing and
How will available resources be allocated?
It is anticipated that around 1800 "voucher numbers" will be available as a result of this $3.1M award. About half of the voucher numbers will be distributed to CAPS (Community Action Agencies) at the beginning of the program based on the current LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) allocation formula. Remaining voucher numbers will be distributed to meet demand across all regions of Oregon. This program is administered on a “first come, first served” basis.
How do you access the program?
There are two ways to access the program.
1) Homeowners can contact OHCS and go through an initial screening process. If OHCS determines they are eligible for the program, OHCS will send them an application packet and ask for income and homeownership verification. Once the application is received and approved at OHCS, the homeowner will be sent the voucher. If the homeowner is replacing their heating system, it will be their responsibility to find a licensed HVAC contractor to do the work and to pay for all costs up front. Once the heating system is installed it will be up to the homeowner to send their rebate voucher and accompanying documentation to ODOE in order to receive the rebate. If the homeowner is replacing a hot water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine, it will be their responsibility to purchase a qualifying appliance, have it installed, lawfully recycle the old appliance and submit all of the proper paperwork to ODOE for payment of the rebate. The homeowner will be responsible for paying all costs up front. If the rebate is more than $600, ODOE will send a 1099 form at the end of the year for tax purposes.
2) Homeowners who need assistance and require financial help to cover costs can go through their local Community Action Program (CAP). CAP’s will administer their program through their existing Low Income Home Energy Assistance and Weatherization programs. CAP’s will be replacing inefficient or non?functioning heating systems, hot water heaters and/or refrigerators first. If homeowners are approved through their local CAP, the cost will be covered 100%. The homeowner will be asked to sign a release for the rebate funds but will not need to pay for either the equipment or installation.
How do I get started on the application process?
If homeowners choose to go through the Stand Alone Appliance Rebate Program at OHCS, they will call and go through the process outlined above or they can download an application, complete it and mail it with the accompanying income and homeownership verification to OHCS. (Follow the instructions provided on the application.)
You can also respond by e?mail to email@example.com, or call toll free 1?800?453?5511, press 2, select 4.