Florida residents miss out on $350 million for energy-efficient rebates, due to Governor’s veto

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The State of Florida is leaving hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table that could have been used to help lower the cost of making your home more energy efficient.

The Inflation Reduction Act included $8.8 billion for two rebate programs that would provide consumers, mostly middle and low-income, up to $14,000 or more to help make their homes more energy efficient.

One rebate could be used for energy-efficient appliances like electric stoves and washing machines.


The other would help pay for home improvements like new energy-efficient AC units.

“Improve their insulation, update appliances to more energy efficient ones, replace natural gas heaters with electric ones,” Dr. Josh Melko with Renew Jax said.

Melko explained those rebates aren’t available to Florida residents.

That’s because Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a $5 million allocation in this year’s budget intended to jump-start the program within the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Office of Energy.

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“To hire people to administer the program, to figure out the details of how it’s going to work in that state,” Melko said.

Action News Jax reached out to the Governor’s Office and asked why the DeSantis administration rejected the funding, but his office declined to comment.

Florida was slated to receive roughly $350 million for the rebate program, but by turning down the startup money, Melko said the state won’t be able to access any of those funds.

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He estimated the veto likely cost the City of Jacksonville $20 million alone.

“It’s just unfortunate that Jacksonville residents are gonna miss out on this money that could ultimately help them install a new AC. I mean, we’re getting excessive heat warnings in Jacksonville every day on our phones,” Melko said.

Melko noted the federal money won’t be repurposed to, as he put it, pay down the federal government’s debt for example.

Instead, it will simply be redistributed to other states.

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