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NY launches $8M appliance rebate program for storm victims

ALBANY — The state has launched an $8 million appliance grant program for people who sustained property damage in recent storms.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday the program will help New Yorkers cover the costs to replace household appliances, including refrigerators, boilers, washing machines and furnaces, damaged by the recent flooding.

The program, funded through federal stimulus dollars, will allow residents to get rebates of up to $350 for energy-efficient refrigerators, $250 for clothes washers, $2,000 for a furnace, $2,500 for a boiler. Other items may also be covered.

“Our top priority is making sure those affected by these storms have the help they need to recover,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This program will cover the costs for critical household appliances and help New Yorkers who suffered property damage to save money as they rebuild after the storms.”

To apply for the appliance rebate program, visit www.NYSApplianceRebates.com or call 1-877-NY-SMART (877-697-6278).

The state Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will administer the program. The agency has twice run statewide appliance rebate programs since last year, with the most recent one, a $3.5 million initiative, ending in five days when it ran out of money last week.

The rebates will apply to residents in areas affected by tropical storms Irene and Lee and cover appliances not reimbursed by insurance or by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has announced it is providing individual assistance to residents in 28 counties affected by the storms, including in the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier and Albany region.

For residents affected by Irene, grants on purchases of approved appliances and equipment will be retroactive to Aug. 29. For residents affected by Lee, grants will be retroactive to Sept. 9.

The rebates will be for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment where applicable, Cuomo said.

The money will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis starting Monday and an application’s validity could be subject to an audit.

Meanwhile, state budget director Robert Megna said Wednesday there is a $150 million fund set aside in the current budget to cover the state’s costs for the storms. Irene was totaled at $1 billion, but the state hasn’t put a price tag on Lee.

Seventy-five percent of the costs are expected to be funded by FEMA.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said more than 300 roadway segments were closed after Irene hit. The agency will have to put in temporary structures to replace some bridges before assessing any permanent solutions. She did not put a price tag on the damage.

McDonald said her focus is to make sure necessary repairs to storm-damaged roads and bridges are being made before worrying about being reimbursed for repairs by the Federal Highway Administration.

She and Megna, along with other administration officials, emerged after a closed-door cabinet meeting with Cuomo at the Capitol.

“We’ll deal with that when we have to,” McDonald said. “Right now, our direction at the governor’s direction is to get the system back up and running for emergency response, for any evacuation that was needed. Then we’ll see what the damage is.”

SOURCE: The Ithaca Journal

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