Potomac Edison offers cold cash for old, energy wasting refrigerators

June 26, 2012|By LAUREN KIRKWOOD |
  • Mary Crumrine watches as her old refrigerator is hauled out of her garage Tuesday under Potomac Edison's Appliance Recycling Program.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Potomac Edison electric customers can give up their old refrigerators and receive $50 under a new program designed to take energy-wasting appliances out of use.

The Appliance Recycling Program, which the company operates in partnership with JACO Environmental, can save participants up to $150 in annual energy costs, Potomac Edison spokesman Todd Meyers said.

That’s because refrigerators manufactured before 1990 can use three times as much electricity as more modern appliances, Meyers said.

Gilbert and Mary Crumrine of Hagerstown had their refrigerator hauled away Tuesday. Mary Crumrine said she used the refrigerator, kept in her garage, to store dog food, water, soda, and desserts for holiday meals — a convenience Meyers said often costs customers more than they think.

“I don’t think people have any idea how much (energy) it uses,” Meyers said. “It’s a pretty expensive luxury.”

Maryland Potomac Edison customers with full-size refrigerators between 10 and 30 cubic feet are eligible for the program, and can participate by making an appointment with the utility, he said.

The company also provides a $50 rebate for freezers, and gives back $25 for room air-conditioning units.

“We’re trying to help people manage their bills and use less electricity,” Meyers said.

The program is also beneficial to the environment, said Sam Sirkin, program development manager at JACO Environmental.

“Refrigerators pose a threat to the environment if they’re not disposed of correctly,” Sirkin said. “The neat thing about this program is it’s a lot of energy coming off the grid. There’s so much energy being consumed by the fridge.”

JACO Environmental picks up the appliances from owners’ homes, and they are disabled to ensure they are not reused or sold, Sirkin said.

Meyers said one of the best aspects of the program is that customers are not required to purchase anything to receive the rebate, but can use the $50 and their electric bill savings toward a new refrigerator if they want.

Because Potomac Edison customers pay about $1.67 a month for the EmPOWER Maryland surcharge, which is used to fund this and similar programs, they should take advantage of it, Meyers said.

Potomac Edison has collected about 750 appliances so far this year in Maryland, and hopes to collect 4,000 by the end of 2012, Meyers said.

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