As a Christian who cares about God’s Creation, the environment, I am one of the 38 thousand people in Texas who will be taking advantage of a government program meant to get consumers to junk their working appliances and buy new ones to help stimulate the lagging economy. As someone who does a good job of tax planning, I haven’t had any tax liability in years.  This means our household is one of the 50% of American households with no tax liability. In other words, odds are that half of my readers are the ones who paid for my (soon to be) new dishwasher.

Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act (aka Obama’s stimulus, or pork-ulus to you Rushl listeners) was to provide money for Americans to purchase energy efficient appliances. Still, should the program really stipulate that you must get rid of a working appliance in order to get the rebate? Don’t get me wrong. I am glad to get a new dishwasher, and glad that I’m gonna get a deal. As a Christian who cares about God’s Creation (environment) I’m all about this stuff. But, the program’s motive seems to be stimulating corporations instead of lowering energy usage. But that’s another story.

The real story is the mess that was the TexasPowerfulSmart campaign to get us to trade up in appliances. They announced that the program would start taking applications at 7am this morning (april 7th). So, at 7:01am the site went down… I tried with no luck to get through until 10am. Then I found their twitter feed. I found out that the site was getting 1700 hits per SECOND!!! the call center was getting 1000 calls per MINUTE!!! No wonder I wasn’t getting through. But, with all of that traffic, they had only given out 2% of the rebates in 3hrs…

Then their website antics started. They started moving the location of the application to where you couldn’t just refresh the page over and over and hope to get through. I found out that you had to start on the home page, and follow the whole set of links (which were updated) to get to the new location of the application. So, at 12 something I got through and got an application filled out. BAZINGA!! I’m gonna save some cash. But, I thought I should call my mother-in-law who was trying to do the same deal in order to get a new air conditioner. She was having no luck. She had been trying to refresh a page, which I told her no longer existed. When I followed my method again, I got right through and filled out an application for her. So, I was able to get through the process 2 times in about 15min. I would NEVER have known to do that if I hadn’t read a blog post chronicling the problems of the site.

It also turns out that the website may have experienced some sort of internet attack (DDos for you techies). That may have been the reason that only 2-3% of the rebates were given out before the site shut down at 11am. When it came back online at 12:15am, the remaining money went out pretty fast, as seen below (from their twitter account):

  • We’ve had 19.5 million hits from more than 105K unique IPs as of 10:15a. Your patience is appreciated. about 12 hours ago via web
  • Web reservation system is still temporarily unavailable as of 11 a.m. Here’s what you can do: http://texaspowerfulsmart.org/options.php about 12 hours ago via web
  • $18,505,975 in rebates are still available, about 10 percent of funds have been claimed. #txrebate about 12 hours ago via web
  • Follow us @PowerfulSmart for latest updates. The Comptroller’s phone line has limited capacity and we want you to have the latest info fast. about 11 hours ago via web
  • $18,091,315 in rebates are still available, about 12 percent of funds have been claimed. #txrebate about 11 hours ago via web
  • The Texas Appliance Rebate online reservation system has been restored to limited traffic: http://sn.im/v0tpr #txrebate about 11 hours ago via web
  • $11,948,460 in rebates are still available. 42 percent of funds have been reserved #txrebate about 10 hours ago via web
  • $9,041,665 in rebates are still available. 56 percent of funds have been reserved. Keep trying! #txrebate about 10 hours ago via web
  • $8,141,120 in rebates are still available. 63 percent of funds have been reserved. #txrebate about 10 hours ago via web
  • About $4.6 million in appliance rebates are still available to reserve. 77 percent of funds have been reserved. about 9 hours ago via web
  • About $2.8 million in appliance rebates are still available. 86 percent of funds have been reserved. http://www.texaspowerfulsmart.org/ about 9 hours ago via web
  • About $600,000 in rebates are available now. 97 percent of funds have been reserved. #txrebate about 9 hours ago via web
  • All Texas appliance rebates have been reserved, but you can still join our wait list for a chance to qualify www.TexasPowerfulSmart.com. about 8 hours ago via web

All in all, this felt like some sort of Black Friday adventure, and not a way to help the state cut back on energy demands. In fact, if someone really wanted to get tempers flaring, they could argue that it was prejudiced against low income individuals. Since only internet connections were getting through, one needed a computer and internet to get a rebate. Many rural and low Socio-Economic status individuals do not have access to these items. So they likely received a disproportionately small number of rebates.

Still, as a Christian who cares for God’s Creation (the environment) I really do want to lower my energy needs in order to reduce pollution. This program will help me do it.

3 comments on “Texas Appliance Rebate Program Debacle (they went fast!!)

  • Pingback: Texas Appliance Rebate Program Debacle (They Went Fast!!) | Old … « Phd Health Ethel Kathy
  • Pingback: Energy Efficient Dishwasher | GE GLD6968RSS Review | Old Testament and Ecology

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