ON April 19, Gov. Bill Richardson dropped by Baillio’s appliance and electronics store on Cerrillos Road. His purpose: sell some home appliances.

Beginning April 22 (Earth Day), the state is offering a $200 rebate on the purchase of certain energy-efficient appliances (

for details). For retailers like Baillio’s, Richardson said, the program will “mean an increase in sales.”

But if the real goal is to conserve energy, why not require all appliances to meet Energy Star standards? “It’s all about choice, right?”

Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department Secretary Jon Goldstein tells SFR. “Folks should be able to choose the appliance they wish. That’s the American way.”

The state will pay for the rebates with $1.6 million in federal stimulus money. “Rather than Cash for Clunkers, we should call this Money for Maytags,” Goldstein said, standing at the podium/front-load washing machine.

Maytag’s parent company, Whirlpool, recently announced the latest in a series of outsourcing moves: closing an Indiana refrigerator plant with 1,100 jobs and moving production to Mexico. Last year, Whirlpool won a $19 million stimulus grant to develop new, “smart grid”-friendly appliances.

In December, the Baillio family bought the store back from the Denver-based Appliance World chain after it filed for bankruptcy. It’s unclear if Richardson’s smiling endorsement will improve Baillio’s bottom line. The store has much more inventory—including iPads—than it did last year. Richardson had his eye on a wall of big-screen TVs. “I may take a couple of these for the mansion,” he said.