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Replacing the 20-year-old heating and cooling systems in their Slingerlands home had been on their minds for a while, but it was a National Grid rebate program that gave Chris and John Kindschi the push they needed to move forward. "We started thinking about it a year ago, but we never did anything about it," said John, a 63-year-old retired city firefighter for Austin, Texas. "Then, we saw the rebates and tax credits and we decided 'Now's the time.'"

They arranged to buy a new high-efficiency gas furnace and a central air conditioning unit from Rotterdam Heating and Air Conditioning. They scheduled the installation for late last month, just under the wire for a March 31 deadline Chris had noted in some of the rebate information documents.

"We didn't have to do it right then, but we decided to do it because of the rebates," she said.

The Kindschis spent about $6,000 in all, quickly mailed out the paperwork and began anticipating a $1,025 payback.

They received an unexpected response in the mail. "The National Grid Upstate New York High Efficiency Heating Equipment Rebate Program has been a huge success within the region," said the letter, dated April 8, from Energy Federation Inc., which administers the program for National Grid. "Due to overwhelming customer response, this program has reached its target and fully allocated its incentive funding."