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City survey tests waters for refrigerator rebates

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 | 1:44 p.m. CST; updated 3:28 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 12, 2013

COLUMBIA — City rebates have prompted 1,402 utility customers to replace older air conditioners with more energy-efficient models since 2008, and refrigerators might be next.

In 2012, $119,000 in air-conditioning rebates went to 302 customers and saved 578,028 kilowatt hours of electricity, which equals to the average monthly electric use of 734 Columbia households, according to Columbia Water and Light. The rebates ranged from $50 to $1,600.

Refrigerator Tips

Here are a few ways to help keep your refrigerator's electric use in check:

  • Use a wattmeter, an instrument for measuring the electric power, so that you can monitor the electricity your refrigerator is consuming.
  • Keep the refrigerator's coils and compressor clean.
  • Check door gasket to be sure there is a tight seal.
  • Keep temperature between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep the refrigerator full but not over-stocked.
  • Do not pile stuff on the sides or on top of the refrigerator.

Source: Dave Mars, energy management specialist.



The rebates are part of wide-ranging energy efficiency efforts by the city to save the utility on power supply costs, which keeps rates stable.

On Dec. 6, Columbia Water and Light posted an online survey designed to test interest in adding incentives to recycle and replace aging refrigerators.

“Second refrigerators are older, less efficient and are usually placed in the house’s garage, where very high temperatures can be reached during summer,” Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said.

The survey asks customers whether they'd be interested in a $35 rebate to remove and recycle second refrigerators or a $100 rebate to recycle a second refrigerator and replace it with one that has the Energy Star label.

"Online surveys are free, but getting responses is hard," Kacprowicz said. Out of 38 people who responded, 30 would be interested in the $35 rebate and 29 in the $100 rebate.

The questions have also been part of the department's annual phone survey for several years. According to Columbia Water and Light, 30.4 percent of the 380 responses are interested in a rebate to remove their second refrigerator.

If the city decides on refrigerator rebates, they could be offered as early as 2014.

Since the programs started in 2008, the city has offered rebates for high-efficiency air conditioning. In total, the city spent $496,391 and 1,402 people took advantage of those rebates.

In 2012, through its energy efficiency programs, the city helped 9,923 people and saved 4.13 million kilowatt hours, which equals the average monthly consumption of 5,241 Columbia households, according to Columbia Water and Light.

The residential and commercial programs address windows, doors, insulation improvements, lighting rebates, solar water heaters, air conditioners and heat pumps.

For information about energy efficiency programs offered by the city, check Columbia Water and Light's website or their rebate programs

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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