Sara Pyrant, Forester
As customers, their families and neighborhoods shake off winter and look forward to spring’s new beginnings, BGE is also sharing in the excitement with the announcement of a new tree giveaway program. Through our coordination with the Arbor Day Foundation, we plan to give more than 9,000 trees to customers in an effort to promote a greener and more energy-efficient environment.
For some time, it’s been well-known that trees help to beautify landscapes and improve the air quality of a community; but did you know that they also help to reduce energy use? It’s true. By providing shade during the hotter months and a wind block during colder months, strategically placed trees can help add to the energy saving measures you might already incorporate such as insulation and sealing windows and doors. In some cases a properly planted and located tree can reduce a customer’s annual energy use by as much as 30 percent.
We encourage customers to take advantage of BGE’s Energy Saving Tree Program, and tell friends and neighbors who live in the BGE service territory. To reserve a tree and learn more, visit www.arborday.org/BGE
. While on the site, you can order up to two trees (as supply last) to include a number of Maryland native species including:
- American Hophornbeam
- American Hornbeam
- Eastern Redbud
- Flowering Dogwood
- Willow Oak
Each tree will come with standard tree planting instructions, a map of the designated planting site (in order to increase energy efficiency) and important reminders to never plant near overhead power lines and always call Miss Utility at 811 before digging and planting.
Together, with our customers and the Arbor Day Foundation, we’re hoping to help beautify and add energy efficiency to central Maryland.
Melissa Cheek, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist
Last week, BGE employee volunteers gave up their office and field equipment for shovels and rakes and gathered in the Oliver neighborhood of Baltimore City to help beautify the area through trash removal, painting, planting and building. Combining efforts, BGE employees worked with members of the community and other volunteer groups, led by local non-profit organization the 6th Branch
, to help build and restore green space and clear away debris.
BGE recognizes the importance of being active members of the communities we serve. As such, many employees regularly find ways to contribute both their time and labor to help others. They also serve on boards and look for ways to involve friends, family and co-workers to maximize the response and expand relationships within the community.
Not only do these outreach projects help us and our customers learn more about each other, but we’re finding that these projects also help communities learn more about themselves – as neighbors who work alongside each other to meet a common objective. Last week’s effort included the clearing of an empty lot, which we helped to convert into a bike trail for children; and the development of a community flower
garden and park for residents to enjoy with their family and friends. Our hope is that these new outdoor areas give children and families in the neighborhood an opportunity to continue to strengthen bonds and build on community pride.
Jeannette M. Mills, VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
Recently we launched a mobile website and power outage map to give you more options for reporting and monitoring outages in your area. Now, if you lose power as a result of this snowstorm, the easiest way to report the outage is through bge.com on your mobile phone.
When you access the website through your mobile phone or other smart device like a tablet, you’ll notice that you get some streamlined options. You can report a power outage by providing either the phone number associated with your account, or your account number.
You can also view a map of the area and see where outages have been reported. By selecting the icon for a reported outage, you can see the number of customers affected by it and, depending on what information is available, the cause of the outage, status of the crew assigned to repair it and an estimated time of restoration. The map refreshes periodically, so you will not see an icon for your reported outage immediately after you submit it. Also, you will not see exact addresses of outages to protect privacy.
Please keep in mind that estimated individual restoration times may not be available through the mobile site or automated outage phone reporting system (877.778.2222) when severe storms cause widespread outages and extensive damage. Estimates will only be made available as we work through the damage to the system and we have a high degree of confidence in their accuracy.
Of course, the hope is that you do not lose power during this storm or others, but if you do, we hope you find the new mobile website and outage map convenient and helpful. Beyond storms and outages, the mobile site also provides an easy way to contact BGE on a wide range of topics. We look forward to continuing to expand our mobile capabilities in order to serve our customers in the way that is most convenient.
Jeannette M. Mills, VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
As a winter storm, complete with heavy, wet snow and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, heads toward Maryland, BGE urges customers to prepare for the potential of power outages. One of the easiest ways to prepare your household is to know how to report your outage quickly and securely. If you have Internet access, you can now report outages online by visiting www.bge.com/reportanoutage
or via a smartphone or smart device by visiting BGE’s mobile version of its website, bge.com. If you are unable to report your outage online, or need to report a downed wire, you can use our automated outage number (1.877.778.2222.
Staying informed during a storm is also vital to helping you and your family take quick action or plan your next steps of preparation. We encourage customers to stay tuned to local weather services and media for weather updates, as well as follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed of outages and restoration information. One of the most important ways to prepare, however is to have a storm kit and a family plan ready. Here are tips on staying safe prior to, during and after storms:
Before a Storm
- For the latest weather forecast, call the Weatherline at 410.662.9225.
- Create and review a family emergency plan prior to a severe weather event.
- Be sure to make a contingency plan for any family members with special needs, including the elderly, handicapped or those dependent on electricity for medical equipment.
- Have a battery-powered radio with a weather band so you can hear emergency information in the event you lose power.
- Make sure you have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation.
- Consider filling your vehicle’s fuel tank at your neighborhood gas station.
- If you rely on well water, consider filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather.
- Keep a storm safety kit handy and well-stocked.
- Customers using generators should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in a well-ventilated area.
During a Storm
- Call the Weatherline Forecast Service at 410.662.9225 for up-to-the minute weather forecasts.
- If you lose power, report your outage to BGE BGE immediately online at bge.com or call 1.877.778.2222. It's the fastest and easiest way to report an outage, and helps us assess the scope of the outage.
- Be sure your smoke detectors have battery backups and are operating properly. Replace batteries annually.
- Plan where to go if you should need to leave your home.
- Turn off or unplug sensitive electronic equipment and appliances.
- Don’t light candles. It could start a fire. And don’t use a gas cooking range for emergency heating. It could build up deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
- Stay away from fallen or low-hanging wires or anything they contact. Be especially cautious near metal fences.
After a Storm
- If you lose service, notify BGE immediately by reporting your outage online at bge.com or by calling 1.877.778.2222. The number connects you to BGE’s Speech Activated Outage Reporting system. By entering the telephone number associated with your account, BGE is able to determine your location.
- Stay away from any downed power lines. Call BGE immediately at 1. 877.778.2222if you see any wires that are down. If a wire falls across your vehicle while you are inside, do not get out until emergency help arrives and they instruct you that it is safe to exit.
- Tune into local radio stations for safety and status reports.
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