Kathleen and Billy Harris were happy Tuesday to see their old refrigerator, an energy guzzler they'd bought 22 years ago, loaded onto a recycler's truck to be hauled away.

The Uniondale couple was pleased, as well, with a $75 federal energy-conservation rebate for their new appliance - along with a $35 recycling bonus from the Long Island Power Authority.

"This is a win-win situation for everyone," Kathleen Harris said at a LIPA news conference highlighting the family's recycling decision.

They were the utility's 1,000th customer to benefit from what LIPA chief executive Kevin Law called "our version of a cash for clunkers program."

The LIPA program is for old (pre-2001) working refrigerators or freezers recycled by customers at their billing address.

After a utility contractor sent a crew of workers to haul away the Harris' old Maytag, the couple showed off a sleek new energy-efficient refrigerator they'd already installed. It will trim more than $100 each year from the electric bill, Kathleen Harris estimated.

LIPA officials said the $35 recycling award program is meant to nudge customers to get rid of old refrigerators, which many people install in the garage or basement. Plugged in, and used as a backup, the old appliance becomes a constant drain on Long Island's power grid, officials said.

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As of June 11, rebates in New York State for all products under the federal program were fully reserved. Customers can get on a waiting list in case additional funds become available.

The refrigerator is "the most demanding appliance" on a year-round basis for LIPA, though air conditioners use more electricity in summer, Law said.

The couple said they won't miss the old fridge that saw them through their child-raising years, when they had to keep it stuffed with food for sons Jason, Daryl and Michael, now grown. The boys had a habit of leaving the door open, making it even more of an energy waster.

"What I remember most about that refrigerator," their mother recalled, "is the way the boys were always hanging on the door, wide open, and complaining, 'There's nothing to eat.' "

 

How to qualify

 

To get $35 from LIPA to recycle your old, working refrigerator or freezer:

 

  • You must be a LIPA residential customer and own the appliance.

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  • Pickup must be at the residential address on your billing account.

 

 

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  • Appliance must be 10-30 cubic feet, manufactured before 2001, and operating (cooling) at time of pickup.

 

 

  • Limit, two appliances a year.

 

 

  • Some restrictions may apply.

 

Your $35 will be mailed to you within four weeks after pickup of appliance.

 

For more information on the LIPA program, visit: lipower.org/residential/efficiency/programs/refrigerator.html.

For information on the federal program, go to energysavers.gov/financial/rebates/state_ NY.cfm.