With the Imperial Irrigation District set to increase the cost of power as early as February, district officials are looking to the public benefits program to help people cope with such costs.
The program was initiated as part of the deregulation of the power industry. The program requires a portion of power bills go toward public assistance.
IID has some $5 million to aid the public this year.
On Tuesday the IID board approved a new element of the public benefits program — refrigerator rebates.
The district has set aside $500,000 to aid the public in obtaining energy-efficient refrigerators throughout the year.
Phil Falkenstein, energy and marketing specialist leader for IID, said there are three aspects to the refrigerator program.
First, IID will offer a 20-percent rebate off the base price to those who purchase an energy star-rated refrigerator. The district — using a contracted recycling firm — would then remove the old non-energy star-rated refrigerator from the household. The maximum IID would pay on the rebate is $200.