Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No more cash for caulkers?

Regular readers know that we've been going through the trials and tribulations of a major home renovation. Part of project is a second floor laundry closet with front-loading, energy efficient machines. I'm excited to get rid of my old washer; it wasn't draining well, leaving clothes more than damp and causing the electric dryer to overwork and use way too much energy. The new washer will use less water, less detergent, and even help use less dryer energy. The switch from electric to gas dryer ought to make a difference in the long run as well.

Part of our ever-greener lifestyle includes energy savings and the accompanying money savings. The Energy Star rating on the washer (there are no energy star dryers; even the best dryers are energy hogs) qualified us for a federal rebate in the program nicknamed "Cash for Caulkers." It's a win-win! Invest in energy efficient appliances, save money on electricity, gas, and water, and even earn a rebate in the process!

Or not.

The rebate paperwork came back to us marked (Sing it, Elvis) Return to Sender: Address Unknown. We tried the web site and found out we'd sent everything to the right place, but the program was out of money. Next we tried Big Box Major Appliance Store; we'd purchased in April, and they were informed and told to stop offering the rebates on the first of May. It was simply our bad luck to miss the window of opportunity. No one was at fault.

It's disappointing, at the least. Do the right thing, complete the paperwork, and have it tossed back at us without so much as a "Gee, thanks for being energy conscious."

I believe in the changes happening in our government. I believe in the hope that we can lessen our dependence on petroleum products, ease our need for dangerous drilling. I support the work that's going on, even as the wheels of bureaucracy squeak slowly around and around before significant change occurs.

Watching a positive program shut down seemingly overnight for lack of funds is discouraging - discouraging to an extreme.

Disclaimer: I know the US Post Office doesn't really use a stamp that says, "Return to Sender." However, there's little enough humor in this situation; I thought I'd at least make this episode a musical.

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