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