Company also urges customers to prepare now for potential severe thunderstorms throughout this afternoon
Customers can take advantage of options to better manage energy use during periods of extreme weather, including BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® and Summer Ready
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is preparing for the potential of severe thunderstorm activity, forecasted to affect its central Maryland service area this afternoon. The forecasted weather system may bring heavy rain and strong wind and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour. In addition, BGE continues to closely monitoring its electric grid to maintain the reliable delivery of electric service while minimizing impacts on its customers, as this week brings consecutive days of extreme heat.
“As the region continues to experience high temperatures, exceeding 100 degrees, BGE is also preparing for potential weather-related outages from the severe thunderstorms and high wind forecasted for this afternoon,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “In periods of extreme weather, the company may activate its voluntary energy demand response program, PeakRewardsSM, which helps lower the cost of electricity. BGE did activate PeakRewards for approximately two hours yesterday. This program is critical to helping the company and the electric grid operator for the region (PJM) reduce peak demand and keep the electric system balanced, particularly during periods of high demand.”
Customers are encouraged to prepare for the potential of power outages by visiting bge.com, where they will find information on preparing for storms, as well as information to help customers conserve energy and alleviate the impact of extreme temperatures on their energy bills.
BGE PeakRewards customers receive annual bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of enrollment and up to $100 every year thereafter. Bill credits to participating customers will exceed $20 million this year alone. Throughout the past few months, BGE has provided reminder communications to PeakRewards program participants focused on their respective voluntary participation levels, as well as reminders of what to expect during both emergency and non-emergency events. In addition, customers can receive individual email notifications of a PeakRewardsSM event. In 2011, the program helped reduce peak demand by more than 500 megawatts—equivalent to a medium-sized power plant—and as a result, last summer helped BGE avoid potential brownouts and blackouts, which could have affected all of its 1.2 million electric customers in central Maryland.
While the company expects energy use to continue to increase over the next several days, BGE does not expect to set a new all-time high for summer energy use. The current all-time record for summer energy use in BGE’s central Maryland service area is 7,236 megawatts (MW), set on July 21, 2011. Peak use 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 expects to have sufficient electric supply to meet anticipated demand and encourages its customers to consider ways to conserve and manage energy.
As a reminder, BGE customers who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment, should always have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to bge.com.
Just as BGE prepares for severe weather and the possibility of power outages, customers should take steps to ensure the safety of their families and property during electric service interruptions. Customers should keep the following items readily available:
· Flashlights – not candles
· Fresh batteries
· Battery operated clock radio
· Corded telephone
· Fully charged cell phone
· Non-perishable foods
Customers also should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations. For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged.
Customers may consider the following energy-saving tips:
· Close curtains and blinds to keep out sunlight.
· Set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher if health allows. Every degree above 72 degrees saves 5 to 7 percent on cooling costs.
· Delay the 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.
· Take shorter hot showers. Heating water is the second biggest energy drain in the home.
· Turn off non-essential appliances, electronics and other devices.
· Turn on ceiling fans, with blades rotating counter-clockwise.
· Use an outdoor grill or microwave instead of the stove or oven.
· Visit the Summer Ready section of BGE’s website for more energy-saving tips.
· Enroll in BGE’s PeakRewardsSM program to 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.