Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc. (ARCA) announced recently it has entered into a contract with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to operate a refrigerator/freezer/room air conditioner recycling program in San Diego and surrounding areas as well as a six-county region in California’s Central Valley, including the cities of Fresno and Stockton.

The Appliance Early Retirement and Recycling Program will be expanded to the seven-county Bay

Area when the current Summer Initiative Energy Conservation Program (SIECP), which is also operated by ARCA, is fully subscribed this summer.

The CPUC has budgeted $14 million to fund the recycling program. The budget allocation includes $50 incentive payments to participants for refrigerators and freezers and $25 incentive payments for room air conditioners. Initial significant revenues from the new program are anticipated later in this year’s second half. The program is a one-year contract through May 31, 2002.

The new program is modeled after the CPUC-mandated SIECP, but has been expanded to include room air conditioners. ARCA will market and advertise the program, take orders from consumers, pick up qualified appliances at their residences, recycle these appliances in an environmentally responsible manner, and process customer incentive payments.

The Appliance Early Retirement and Recycling Program is expected to permanently remove from service approximately 70,000 operating inefficient refrigerators, freezers, and room air conditioners. Administered by the CPUC and funded by recently enacted California legislation, this new energy conservation program is expected to reduce residential peak summer electricity demand by about 21 megawatts, the equivalent of a small power plant. The program is designed to reduce residential consumption of electricity. According to the program’s officials, they are seeking to reduce electricity consumption by an estimated 105 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year — or, as they convert it: “enough to meet the total electricity needs of about 15,000 households a year for five years.”

Studies indicate that approximately 3.5 million spare working refrigerators and freezers are currently in use in California. These studies also estimate that without the early retirement program, consumers would likely continue operating these inefficient units for an additional five years. As a result of the new program, participating customers are expected to reduce their

electric bills during this five-year period by approximately $80 million, calculated at a residential retail rate of $0.15/kWh. By comparison, this program costs less than $0.03/kWh.

Edward R. (Jack) Cameron, president and chief executive officer, commented: “We sincerely appreciate having this opportunity to work closely with the CPUC in helping address California’s critical energy shortage and high electricity rates. Based on our previous work with Southern California Edison Company (SCE) and the SIECP, we believe the evidence is compelling that retiring working inefficient household appliances from service is a proven and cost-effective means for reducing residential energy demand and saving money for consumers.

“We view the CPUC’s decision to contract with ARCA as an expression of confidence in these programs and our company.”

The SIECP calls for the company to recycle approximately 36,000 refrigerators and freezers in the service areas of Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric. Administered by SCE, this program has been fully subscribed in San Diego and is expected to be fully subscribed in the Bay Area during next month, July. In addition, the company is continuing to support a separate residential energy conservation program sponsored by SCE.

For more information regarding ARCA, visit

Publication date: 06/18/2001