Utilities in Southern California are offering rebates on a variety of energy-efficient Energy Star appliances. Many of the sites with the most up-to-date details on these programs are the utilities themselves, including Southern California Edison and the Southern California Gas Company. Some city governments also run their own rebate programs. I decided to focus on washing machine rebates to see which programs were currently active for August 2015.
The City of Malibu links to the SoCalGas site, which offers rebates for washing machines. An energy-efficient washing machine (Energy Star certified) is currently eligible for a $50 rebate, and very energy-efficient (most efficient) washing machines qualify for a $75 rebate. To qualify as most efficient, the washing machine needs an integrated modified energy factor of at least 2.74 and an integrated water factor of not more than 3.2. A $200 rebate for a cold water washing machine is also available from SoCalGas. In this case, SoCalGas offers the rebate for a specific Whirlpool model, the Cold Water Technology Washer.
The cold water washing machine is a top loading model with a capacity of 3.5 cubic feet. Whirlpool set a suggested retail price of $549 for this model, so the rebate provides a discount of around 36% from the sticker price.
The Energy Star site also provides statistics on washing machines that qualify for the $75 rebate. For comparison, the Whirlpool Duet Front-Load washer has an integrated modified energy factor of 2.75 and an integrated water factor of 3.2, meeting the most efficient standard. This washing machine has a capacity of 4.2 cubic feet and is available from Sears for $809. So the rebate only provides a discount of about 9% from the sticker price here. Many models qualify for the $50 rebate. About 173 washing machines meet at least one of the Energy Star standards as of August 2015.
As for the availability of the washing machine rebates, the suggested store list provided by SoCalGas shows a variety of locations stretching from Orange County to the Central Coast of California. So the rebates are available in many cities besides Malibu. The cold water washing machine is available at stores in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, as well as Irvine and Westminster. Cities between these locations, such as Los Angeles, Oxnard, and Santa Barbara, also sell energy-efficient washing machines that qualify for the rebates.
Water districts in Southern California may also provide rebates for efficient washing machines. The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has been offering a $150 rebate since mid-2013 for people who live in Alhambra, Sierra Madre, Monterey Park, and part of Azusa. The utility also made a more recent announcement that could indicate that the program will be around for a while. On June 24, 2015, the water district announced that it had received a $231,915 grant that will help it provide rebates, including rebates on water efficient washing machines, to more of its customers. This was one of 22 grants, so other municipal water districts may have received more cash for efficient washing machine rebates in June 2015 as well.
The Los Angeles County Department of Water and Power also offers energy-efficient washing machine rebates in several locations. Appliances qualifying under this program must have a water factor below 3.7, more than the 3.2 factor used by SoCalGas. So an appliance that does not meet the SoCalGas efficiency standard might still qualify for a rebate from LA County. The county is offering $100 rebates, which would provide about 12.5% off on a $800 washing machine. Washing machine buyers have to apply for rebates, and the process is different depending on where a buyer lives; the rebate application process occurs online for residents of Malibu, Marina Del Rey, and Topanga but involves mailing in an application for people who live in Acton, Antelope Valley, Kagel Canyon, and Val Verde.
Efficient washing machine rebates are also available in San Diego. The city website notes that SoCalWater$mart is offering washing machine rebates that start at $85. SoCalWater$mart is run by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a wholesale water supplier that delivers water to a large number of municipal and city water districts in Southern California. This wholesaler handles water for utilities between Ventura County and San Diego, so it has a large operating range. The City of San Diego also explains that rebate funds for this program are limited, so to qualify for the SoCalWater$mart rebate a person must obtain a rebate reservation number before purchasing an energy-efficient washing machine. Because of the wide range of this wholesaler, rebate applications under this program could be coming from many locations in Southern California.
So as of August 2015, rebates for energy-efficient washing machines were available from water and gas utilities, as well as a regional water wholesaler. The SoCalGas $200 rebate appears to be the best deal, while the SoCalWater$mart rebate may have the widest availability while funds last.