Jeannette M. Mills VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
Each June marks the beginning of hurricane season and with it, the need to be prepared for severe summer weather. No doubt, many BGE customers, as well as those living along the East Coast and mid-Atlantic region, still remember the impact of Hurricane Irene. Strong wind and heavy rain caused widespread, extended power outages. While we can’t stop extreme weather from affecting us, we can all do our part to prepare. Just as we start to put our emergency plan into action by monitoring the weather, keeping employees informed and participating in drills, our customers can take steps to be hurricane-ready. For example, keep our outage number (1.877.778.2222) handy in case you lose power, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed, and most importantly have a storm kit and a family plan on hand and ready to go. Planning for storms and hurricanes can help save lives, as well as help you weather a storm-related outage. Some emergency kit items should include:
Battery-operated clock and weather radio
Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and/or car charger
Enough bottled water & non-perishable food to last for 3 to 7 days
First aid kit and prescription medications
Blankets and clothing (rain gear, sturdy shoes)
Cash and important documents (medical, insurance, financial)
Special items for babies, the elderly and pets
A full tank of gas in your vehicle
Corded telephone for your home
For customers who have special needs and require electricity to power medical or life support equipment, please make appropriate arrangements such as having a portable generator, battery backup or alternate shelter for care. BGE will attempt to contact special needs customers who are registered with BGE to notify them of a possible severe storm. Access our Special Needs Customers
page, to learn more about our Special Needs Program and how to register.
BGE understands the dangers and inconveniences that severe weather, particularly hurricanes, can bring. Simply put, preparing for extreme weather is the smart choice. On behalf of our leadership team at BGE, we wish you a safe and pleasant summer season.
Rob Gould, VP and Chief Communications Officer
Memorial Day is much more than a three-day weekend or what many refer to as the unofficial start of summer. For me and many of my colleagues at BGE, Memorial Day is an annual day of tribute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation.
At BGE, we’re proud of the fact that many of our employees are veterans or currently serve in the National Guard and Reserves. I personally had the unique privilege of serving nearly 27 years as both a U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force officer in the Maryland National Guard and know first-hand the pride and honor that comes with service to one’s nation.
Since the fateful events of September 11, 2001, a renewed spirit and appreciation of our men and women in uniform has taken hold. Be it a sporting event, transits through airports or even commercials on television, the gratitude and admiration for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – regardless of whether they’re active duty or reservists - is palpable.
Whatever your plans may be for this Memorial Day weekend, BGE wishes you and yours a safe and meaningful holiday. For our customers, in particular, who are veterans or are currently serving in our nation’s armed forces, thank you for your selfless and dedicated service.
Robert L. Gould
Vice President and Chief Communications Officer
Colonel (Ret.), Maryland National Guard
U.S. Army (1983-1999)
U.S. Air Force (1999-2010)
In recognition of Memorial Day, BGE’s corporate offices will be closed Monday May 28. Our crews will be ready to respond, however, in the event of an emergency. If you see downed wires or suspect a gas leak please go to a safe distance and call 410.685.0123. Power outages should be reported by calling 1.877.778.2222.
Michael Butts, Director - Smart Grid
The smart meter
is an essential component to modernizing our energy delivery grid. Its two-way communication ability enables customers and BGE to better understand usage patterns and allows customers to better manage energy use and control costs.
Before we installed the first smart meters earlier this month, we communicated to our customers about this new technology. We sent more than a million letters
, brought smart meter information to a variety of community events and participated in several media interviews. We are also sending postcards and placing advertisements in areas that are the first to receive this technology.
Since announcing the
installation of smart meters, we’ve understandably
received questions from customers and have participated in online conversations regarding how the meters will function; what they will measure; how they will help customers better manage their bills; how we will protect data security and concerns regarding radio frequency exposure. While we address these questions on our Common Questions
page, we wanted to take another opportunity to provide more information to these frequently asked questions:
Smart meters will measure the same thing your current meter measures – the total energy usage of your household. The meter will not tell us what devices you are using, what kinds of appliances/equipment you have, or whether or not the house is occupied at a particular point in time. The difference between the smart meter and your current meter is that the smart meter will communicate your usage data through two-way wireless communication. This capability will allow us to provide you with hourly usage data soon after the information is obtained by the meter.
Right now, BGE gets information about your energy usage on a monthly basis
. Customers must wait until they get their bills in order to know how much energy they used in a certain period, and the related charges. We believe that if customers have more detailed information about their energy usage patterns, such as periods when their usage may spike, they can make better decisions on how they manage their energy use and lower their bills in the short and long-term. When the first smart meter-related feature is rolled out in Fall 2012, customers will be able to regularly access information about their energy use through an online tool. Before you even receive your bill, you will have an idea of how your bill is tracking and what changes you can take to lower your overall usage.
We recognize that data security is of extreme importance. This is why we have hired trained security professionals who continually test our system by trying to “hack” into it. Any potential areas of concern are immediately addressed. Also, regarding the privacy and confidentiality of your data, the usage information relayed to BGE is encrypted. BGE does not currently sell your usage information to third parties and has no plans to start doing so.
The California Council on Science and Technology recently released a study that concluded that properly working smart meters emit less RF than a typical microwave oven or cell phone. Already, in many homes and offices there are devices that use radio waves to transmit data including cordless phones, automatic garage door openers, video game remotes and baby monitors, to name a few.
As we enhance our delivery infrastructure with smarter technologies, we will continue to work with customers, elected leaders and others to provide information on this topic.
Will post again soon.
John Murach, Director Business Planning & Corporate Performance
In recent months, chances are you’ve read about electric vehicles (EV), seen a commercial or driven past one. Who knows? You might even own such a vehicle or know someone who does.
Across the globe, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are making their way to consumers, and drivers are considering whether an alternative fuel vehicle is right for them. About 18,000 plug-in vehicles were sold in the U.S. last year and even more models are expected to come to market this year.
As your electric service
provider, we’ve intimately studied these vehicles for several years to better understand what EV users will need for charging and the short and long-term impacts to our distribution system so that we’ll be prepared to meet current and future customer demands. This also includes understanding our role in serving homeowners and companies that might want to add charging stations to their home or business.
We added plug-in vehicles (Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius with plug-in conversion kit) to our fleet to learn how they operate and what kind of mileage they get, what the charging experience is like, the cost to charge the vehicles and how they compare with our other vehicles in terms of performance.
Thus far, our experience shows that electric vehicles can cost as little as $1 - $1.50 per gallon equivalent – a more than 70% savings to today’s almost $4 per gallon fuel costs – all while performing very well in a range of everyday driving activities. In addition, plug-in vehicles will have significantly less tailpipe emissions than most conventional vehicles.
While the gas mileage impacts might make these vehicles attractive, it is expected for the average EV driver, that charging the plug-in can add anywhere from 10 to 30 percent to the typical monthly electric use as consumers “fuel” their vehicles with electricity, rather than at a fuel pump. All things being equal, you can see significant savings when comparing the cost of electricity to gasoline costs based on the current costs for both.
So, is this the time to consider a plug-in vehicle for your next car or truck? The answer today may be “yes – or soon”. Consumers today have a wide choice of traditional gas fueled vehicle styles, models and capabilities to choose from. The plug-in models are just now coming to market. Additional new models will be coming in the next several months and years. In a few years, we expect there will be a wide range of plug-in options to choose from that will meet the driving styles and needs for most drivers. Check out BGE.com for thoughts to consider as you evaluate if a plug-in vehicle is right for you.
During our ongoing research, we’ve continued to educate consumers on this new technology – providing presentations and showcasing our vehicles at different events. We’ve worked with the Maryland Public Service Commission and other State agencies to keep them informed of our findings and we’ve established working relationships with auto manufacturers and other utilities who are also studying the impacts of electric vehicles.
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