Utility expects to have sufficient electric supply to meet customer demand, but encourages customers to conserve energy even during periods of extreme weather
BALTIMORE, July 20, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is closely monitoring the weather and expects electric usage to continue to increase throughout the week as temperatures and heat indexes are forecasted to approach and possibly exceed 100 degrees. The utility expects to have enough power to meet customer demand and is taking steps to limit the durations of weather-related power outages, should they occur. The utility is also advising customers of ways to conserve energy even during extremely hot weather.
“BGE recognizes the challenges associated with electric service interruptions, and we are extremely sensitive to the impact of power outages on our customers, particularly during periods of extreme weather,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “In addition to working very closely with the PJM Interconnection, the electric power grid serving more than 52 million customers in Maryland, 12 other states and the District of Columbia, BGE is also increasing its around-the-clock field resources to limit outage durations and reminding field employees to stay hydrated and take breaks when needed, to ensure their safety. We thank our customers in advance for their patience and understanding.”
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 powered by electricity
-Visiting the Summer Ready section of BGE’s website for helpful information on energy usage during the summer months
-Enrolling in Budget Billing to avoid seasonal spikes in energy usage
-Enrolling 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.
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 continue to increase this week, 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.