BALTIMORE, July 22, 2011 - Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it continues to closely monitor electric usage and has activated its PeakRewards load management program which helps BGE keep the electric system balanced during periods of extremely high energy usage. The approximately 450,000 customers participating in BGE’s PeakRewards air conditioning and water heater programs will experience cycling. Those on the air conditioning program will have their units’ compressors cycled at the level in which they enrolled, 50, 75 or 100 percent. Those who selected 100 percent cycling for the maximum bill credits will have their compressors off for the entire extreme event. This event began at approximately 11:30 this morning and is expected to continue until at least late afternoon. BGE is also responding to scattered power outages which may be associated with the hot weather.
“BGE expects to have enough power to meet customer demand and is taking steps to limit the durations of weather-related power outages when they occur,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “Additionally, we are working very closely with the PJM Interconnection, the electric power grid serving customers in Maryland, other states and the District of Columbia, to ensure system reliability during this period of extremely high energy usage.”
Just as BGE proactively prepares for extreme weather, customers are reminded to take action to limit the impact of hot weather on their energy usage, which in turn, will help them better manage summer energy bills. Customers should consider the following:
Closing curtains and blinds to keep the sun outside
Setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher if health allows
Delaying use of major, heat generating household appliances such as ovens, stoves, dishwashers and dryers, until after 9 p.m. when the temperature begins to drop
Turning off non-essential appliances, electronics and other devices
Visiting the Summer Ready section of BGE’s website
Enrolling in Budget Billing to avoid seasonal spikes in energy usage
Enrolling in BGE’s PeakRewards program and receive summertime bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of participation. Select the programmable thermostat option for even more energy management tools.
Energy bills are primarily a combination of the rate charged for the commodity and the amount of energy used by the customer. While electric rates are down significantly when compared to previous years, extreme weather generally causes electric usage to increase which can lead to higher-than-expected bills. During the summer months, cooling systems typically account for nearly half of a home’s energy usage. Additionally, old or inefficient cooling systems use more energy than newer, more efficient systems.
While BGE expects energy usage to be very high today, it does not expect to set a new all-time high for summer energy usage. The current all-time record for summer energy usage in BGE’s Central Maryland service area is 7,198 megawatts (MW), set on August 3, 2006. Peak usage for a typical summer day is 5,500 MW. One megawatt equals one million watts and is generally enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,000 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is an indirect subsidiary of Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com, a FORTUNE 500 company also headquartered in Baltimore, with subsidiaries that generate, sell and provide other energy-related services to customers throughout North America.