Carol Dodson, VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
Every fourth Thursday of November, many households usher in the holiday season spending Thanksgiving with loved ones. It’s a time for showing appreciation for all the things we hold dear; and if possible lending a hand to those that need extra help. At BGE, we’re proud of our employees who take the time to give back to the community during the holidays and year round.
In preparing for Thanksgiving, we want to remind customers to celebrate safely. As ovens and stovetops are busy with the makings of a traditional holiday dinner, and as parade programming and football (Go Ravens!) fill our television screens, we recognize that families can get a little preoccupied with the busyness of preparation and wanted to extend a safety reminder.
Keep the Lid on Safe Cooking
Even before Thanksgiving Day there’s a good chance that a great deal of time will be spent in the kitchen. Whether hosting or visiting, plan for more people than usual in the kitchen - including perhaps young children. With the oven on high, stovetop burners on and kitchen knives lying around, the kitchen could be hazardous. These preventive tips will help make the kitchen a lot safer:
- Maintain adult supervision in the kitchen at all times to keep children away from the oven, stove, or any appliance in the kitchen.
- It’s safest to use the back burners if the stove is against the wall, and to turn pot handles towards the back where little hands can’t reach.
- Avoid carrying hot liquids or drinking anything hot while carrying a child to avoid dangerous spills.
- Move hot items and sharp items away from the edges of counters and tables and avoid using candles when there are children of any age present
- Make sure smoke detectors are working with one on every level of the home including the basement.
- Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop.
If you’re driving, be mindful that millions of Americans will be traveling to join with their families as well. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics the holidays between mid-November and early January are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year with an increase of 54 percent.
Due to this higher rate of travelers on the road it’s vital to take these safety measures:
- Making sure your vehicle is in good condition could save a lot of trouble and time on the road. Gas up the car, and check fluid levels, tire inflation and window cleaner reservoirs the day before traveling.
- It’s best to drive a long distance after a good night’s sleep and take rests or switch drivers on a long haul.
- When traveling with young children make sure their car seats are properly installed and that all passengers wear a seat belt.
- If possible, avoid heavy traffic by planning to leave on the days before Thanksgiving and return several days after.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving with families and friends, it’s our hope that you have a safe and meaningful holiday, full of warmth, peace and joy. Happy Thanksgiving!
In recognition of Thanksgiving, BGE’s corporate offices will be closed Thursday and Friday. 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 1.800.685.0123. Power outages should be reported by calling 1.877.778.2222
Carol Dodson, VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
At BGE, safety is a top priority in all that we do. In fact, safety is a core value of which we practice daily, no matter whether we are working on electric or natural gas equipment or running copies on a printer. We pride ourselves on providing our employees and our customers with information and tips on how to live, work and play safely.
Recently, utility customers across the nation have been targeted by imposters who pose as utility employees to gain financial information or access to homes and businesses. And unfortunately, these scams have also impacted BGE customers. Some imposters may even wear “official-looking” clothing and carry fake credentials. Customers should never open their door to someone they don’t recognize and should always ask for a photo ID through the door or window, especially if you did not request a visit from BGE. One of the simplest things you can do if you receive a visit or a call from someone claiming to work for BGE is to simply call 800.685.0123 to verify the credentials and to confirm whether a visit or a call is legitimate.
All BGE employees and contractors carry company identification badges, which should be visible at all times, displaying their name, photograph and identification number.
A recent telephone scam that has affected our customers is specific to pre-paid and “Green Dot” pre-paid credit cards. The callers claim to represent BGE and tell customers their service is scheduled to be terminated and that they should make a payment by purchasing a “Green Dot” Visa credit card. The customers are then directed to call another phone number where information is obtained from the credit card and the monetary value is removed from the card. This is a scam and the funds are not being used for a BGE bill.
BGE does not accept cash as payments in the field, therefore a BGE representative will never ask for cash to apply to your bill or for any work they perform. BGE offers customers safe, convenient ways to make payments, including calling the BGE customer contact center at 800.685.0123, online or by accessing bge.com from your mobile device, by mail and at authorized America’s Cash Express and Global Express locations. For any questions about accepted BGE payment methods, or to verify the identification of any persons requesting customer information or entry into a home or business, contact BGE at 800.685.0123.
BGE customers have the option of purchasing natural gas and electricity from third-party suppliers and representatives of these companies may contact customers in person, by mail or telephone seeking their business. Representatives of these companies may ask to see your bill as part of their presentation. Please note that they too should carry identification and we encourage you to verify their identification with their office. We encourage all customers to research any third-party energy supplier by visiting bge.com/energychoice or through the Maryland Public Service Commission website at www.psc.state.md.us.
BGE and other utilities across the United States are working with law enforcement and customers to help bring these scams to a stop. By getting the word out and asking customers to be vigilant and alert both BGE and local law enforcement anytime you witness suspicious activity, whether over the phone or in-person, we hope to increase awareness and help all of our customers safeguard their financial information, families, and homes and businesses.
Keep in mind that utility scams can take many forms – from electric and gas to your water, telephone, cable or internet. As we work to keep our customers informed on this matter, we urge our customers to share this information with their friends and family. If at any time, customers are concerned for their safety, they should contact 911. Again, please be vigilant about your own safety and whenever there’s a doubt, please verify with a call to BGE at 800.685.0123.
For more information on guarding yourself and family against utility imposters visit our Imposter and Theft of Energy Awareness page.
Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr., President and CEO, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
Every Veterans Day, our grateful nation honors the millions of veterans who have served in the armed forces to protect our freedom and democracy.
As President Woodrow Wilson declared on Nov. 11, 1919: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
Ninety-four years later, that sentiment is still strong.
At BGE, we recognize those who have served and those who are serving in our military and reserves. Their commitment is admirable and we do not take their sacrifice, or those of their families, for granted.
Today, countless Veterans Day observances are taking place across the country in the form of speeches, reflections and parades. We too are pausing to pay tribute to the service of our men and women who’ve worn the uniform of service. More than 240 BGE employees, who have proudly served as Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman and/or Guard, are being presented with a Veterans Day pin as a token of our gratitude. We admire their courage, dedication to duty and love of country.
As communities across the country come together to honor the service, bravery and sacrifice of United States soldiers, please take the time to say thank you to the veterans you know. Let’s take a moment to also think about our nation’s heroes and those families who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
In sincere appreciation for those who have served our great country, and those who continue to fight for our freedom, we wish you a safe and meaningful holiday.
Brittany Scardina, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
BGE believes in the importance of education, which is why we devote numerous resources to help support education outreach throughout our service area. BGE employees provide support to many organizations, like the South Baltimore Learning Center
which promotes literacy and learning for adult learners committed to reaching their educational goals.
In addition to supporting organizations, BGE also invests in education directly through charitable contributions, educational programs (such as the Wires Down Video Challenge
), and in making presentations to parents, teachers and school children. BGE employees are always enthusiastic to have the opportunity to support local school projects where we can help contribute value to the learning experience.
Recently, we had the opportunity to support the 2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year program. This inspirational event recognizes and appreciates the influence teachers have in shaping the lives of young people who are our future leaders of tomorrow. BGE attendees were honored to have had the ability to see and meet many educators who shared many stories about their undeniable passion for education.
We join others in congratulating Sean McComb from Baltimore County who was named the 2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Sean will have a very exciting and challenging year. BGE would like to wish Sean the best as he represents Maryland. As a company vested in our community, we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come.
Barbara Palmer, Account Representative, Business Account Services
Throughout the month of October, BGE has given support to numerous projects to help raise money and increase awareness toward the cause. From the American Cancer Society to the Making Strides Fundraising Walk, BGE and its employees are finding ways to join with the community in efforts to combat this disease that has impacted so many individuals and their loved ones.
As a breast cancer survivor, I know not only what it’s like to go through diagnosis and treatment, but also how important it is for family and friends to have your back. Between 2003 and 2011, when I was diagnosed twice with breast cancer my BGE co-workers were just as involved with helping me as my family. From, helping me with my nourishment to offering me help around my house.
There is not enough time or space to tell you the many blessings I have encountered since I have been through my cancer journey. However, working for a company that recognizes the importance of supporting communities – even in this particular area, has meant a great deal to me and my family. As a long-time volunteer with the American Cancer Society, Exelon recognized my efforts and awarded American Cancer Society’s Baltimore’s Hope Lodge with $10,000 this year on my behalf. What an honor.
Since my first diagnosis, my mission and purpose has been to mentor and help as many women as possible get through their cancer journey. With the help of BGE, I will continue to bring awareness of breast cancer to women and inspire them with grace and a sense of humor until I take my last breath.
Michael Davenport - Manager, Community Affairs
Recently, BGE was a proud sponsor for the Baltimore County 2013 Baby Boomer/Senior Expo held at the Timonium Fairgrounds. As always, we enjoyed interacting with our customers and learning how we might better serve them. During this year’s expo, BGE representatives were available to discuss programs, services and offer practical tips for using energy safely and efficiently.
Nearly 12,000 attendees visited the two day event to learn how to make their lives more comfortable. From healthcare information to financial services, many visitors met with the many organizations onsite to receive literature and access up for services.
BGE knows the
importance of being a part of the community in which we serve. Whether it’s through participating in a neighborhood cleanup or a targeted expo, we aspire to connect with our customers and provide them with the assistance and information they need to enhance their experience with us.
Customers who attended this year’s expo received information on smart meters and BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® including PeakRewardsSM and Quick Home Energy Check-up; all designed to help BGE customers use energy more efficiently. In addition, we also introduced information about our new mobile website which offers customers the ability to manage their online account via their mobile device, perform key transactions such as bill payment and outage reporting – all in a mobile friendly format.
While we have lots of information to share with our customers, we recognize that our customers also have information in the form of questions and concerns. These opportunities allow us to learn firsthand what is important to our customers and allows us the opportunity to engage with them on a personal level.
This year marks the 26 year of the Baltimore County Baby Boom Senior Expo - a testament not only to the wonderful job that the Baltimore County Department of Aging is doing to promote the programs and services available to seniors throughout the county but also to the wonderful job they are doing to promote this event to the public in general. Once again we were proud to be a supporter of such an impactful event and look forward to seeing you at next year’s expo!
To learn more about BGE community outreach events visit us online at www.bge.com/communitycalendar or follow us at twitter.com/mybge or facebook.com/mybge
Nick Hynson, Overhead Line Mechanic
When it comes to repairing damaged power lines, as a result of a storm, a vehicle accident or any other troubling situation, safety is paramount. No one wants to go out to a job site to begin work and end up injured or worse. And with more than 370,000 poles and 25,000 miles of distribution lines, it’s possible that power lines can fall into neighborhoods, where families reside. While we know the dangers that exist with power lines, we don’t want to assume that everyone else does as well – especially children.
Recently I and my colleagues had the opportunity to present electric safety information to more than 100 students at Jacobsville Elementary School in Pasadena, MD. We were just as excited to interact with students as they were to hear from us. Part of our presentation focused on how lineworkers prepare for safety before heading off to a job. Another part of our presentation focused on teaching children to never touch a downed power line and to notify their parents and call BGE if that situation occurs. Watch the video here. BGE Talks to Jacobsville Elementary about the Wires Down Video Challenge.
As the children passed around our safety equipment and asked questions, we were able to provide answers and give the children a sense of our responsibility for helping to keep others safe. They were very curious and eager to learn.
Safety is BGE’s core value and as a lineworker it’s a rewarding feeling to be able to serve not only our customers, but also ensure that the children have an increased awareness on electric safety precautions. The BGE Wires Down Video Challenge (WDVC) is a fun way to help educate children of the potential dangers of electricity and it provides them with an opportunity to teach others in a creative way.
Last year, I had the pleasure of watching some of the videos that came in and all I can say is, from singing to acting, our children have some amazing talent. Not only does the Wires Down Video Challenge provide an opportunity to win up to $10,000 towards a school enrichment program, the best element about this contest is that the students who participate are able to build team working skills with their peers and feel good about inspiring others all while learning about safety.
Through safety presentations and with the help of the WDVC program, we hope to educate even more students about electric safety this year. Through education, we have the potential to create safety ambassadors and help generate awareness among families, friends, and communities.
To request an in-school electric safety presentation conducted by a real BGE lineworker, please email: email@example.com
We appreciate the opportunity to talk to your students and children. And look forward to an exciting Wires Down Video Challenge Program.
Chris Walls, Manager, Conservation Programs
Chilly evenings, all things pumpkin, sweaters and football are all signs of the fall season. When that first leaf falls and the crisp breeze blows, the summer has likely come to an end. The transition from summer to fall can be enjoyable in different ways. Depending on how mild this autumn shapes up to be, one of the advantages may include a relief on energy bills - as a large portion of energy expenses are directly related to cooling and heating.
During the season’s change, consider opening windows to let cool air in on warmer days and keep air out on cooler days by insulating. Proper insulation is an effective way to reduce energy waste at home. As the temperatures drop lower, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) home heating needs can be reduced up to 30 percent with these measures. Steps to proper insulation include the following:
- Keep access to the attic and other unheated areas closed and insulated.
- Close window coverings at night to keep out the cold and open them during the day to let in the sunshine.
- Insulate ﬂoors above unheated crawl spaces or basements.
- Avoid using the ﬁreplace during extremely cold weather as more heat is lost up the chimney than gained from the ﬁre.
- Schedule a Home Performance audit with ENERGY STAR® to ensure effective and efficient use of energy at home. BGE offers up to $2,000 in rebates for certain energy efficient upgrades.
As it gets colder, most families spend more time at home and turn on the fireplace, furnace or heater. Although these are great ways to stay nice and warm, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind. A fireplace screen is recommended to keep sparks from flying out and making sure the fire is completely out before leaving or going to bed. When using a furnace, be sure to have a specialist inspect it for any leaks and always allow at least three feet of empty area around space heaters.
The fall season also comes with raking and disposing of leaves as they fall from the trees and graciously land on your lawn. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends taking precautions when raking. Before raking, consider warming-up your muscles before the activity and stretching afterwards to release tension in your back muscles. Also, take breaks every 10 to 15 minutes and drink water to stay hydrated.
Recommended options for disposing of the leaves are spreading them as mulch around trees or adding them to your compost pile. Disposing of leaves by burning them is not a safe method according to the EPA. The EPA reports that burning leaves produces harmful chemicals.
As you take in the autumn colors and cooler temperatures, we hope you will continue to save energy, save money and have a healthy and safe season.
More tips and information on saving energy and money can be found on BGESmartenergy.com
David Milton – Manager, Advertising and Marketing
BGE has a long standing commitment to the communities in which we work and live. Whether it is through charitable contributions or volunteer opportunities, we actively work with non-profits who focus in the areas of education, arts and culture, the environment and community development.
In the area of the environment, recently, we provided more than $400,000 in “BGE Green Grants “to nearly 50 local nonprofit organizations committed to environmental stewardship. The program was designed for local 501c3 nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving and making a positive impact on the environment throughout central Maryland. The BGE Green Grants range from $500 to $10,000 each and were awarded in the following environmental focus areas: conservation, education, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and community activism.
On Sept. 4, 2013, BGE held a press conference at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum in Baltimore, where we had the opportunity to present the grants to representatives from each of the organizations who received a 2013 BGE Green Grant. Some examples of the initiatives that received funding through the program include environmental education, recycling days, neighborhood beautification and tree planting, a fresh fruit farm and a green play place, all of which have a positive impact on the environment in communities in which BGE serves.
Year-to-date, BGE has contributed more than $2.2 million to 150 charitable organizations, helping to enrich the communities we serve. BGE’s corporate citizenship aligns with that of parent company, Exelon Corporation.
Lorena Reyes-Harding, Sr. Customer Relations Specialist
When I think of Hispanic Heritage Month, I think not only of the Independence Day of Mexico, my home country, I think of the history, culture and contributions of all Latino Americans across the United States and abroad. I also see it as an opportunity to share our culture and experience with others.
For the past seven years, I’ve worked at BGE in our customer relations center, providing information and assistance to our customers. As a Spanish-speaking Latina, I’m able to help those customers who may not speak English or who speak English as a second language. Very often, I’m told how excited they are to speak to someone in their native tongue and how much they appreciate being able to fully understand each other. Sometimes the conversation revolves around getting to know more about an energy-saving program, other times it may be centered on a critical situation such as a suspected gas leak or visible downed wires. As the demographics of our service area (and the nation) begin to adapt to a growing and thriving Latino population, being able to communicate with all our customers is now more vital than ever with regards to maintaining safe and reliable service.
Just as our customers
appreciate our being able to communicate in Spanish and other languages, I appreciate working for a company that recognizes the importance of different cultures and experiences. During the summer, several of my Spanish-speaking colleagues had the opportunity to represent BGE at the Feria Latina “Celebramos Nuestra Comunidad” – The 2013 Latino Fair. While there, they met many of our customers, provided Spanish language literature and talked to them about the many programs BGE offers to help manage their energy. Our presence was warmly welcomed as our customers saw not only our interest in being part of the Latino community but the appreciation for diversity at BGE.
Whether it’s through our presence in the community, our philanthropic support, or our commitment to having the Spanish language as part of our communications, BGE recognizes the importance of the Latino community – not just during Hispanic Heritage Month, but throughout the year.
As Hispanic Heritage Month continues through October 15, I encourage you to learn more about the Latino culture. There are many events and opportunities for you and your family to join in the celebration. From festivals to museum exhibits, from food to dance, I invite you to explore the many things that make up the Latino culture and be a part of the experience.
Soy orgullosa de ser Latina y ser parte de una compañía que valora la contribución de mi cultura, mi individualidad y mi punto de vista. Me contenta mucho tener la oportunidad de celebrar el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana con mis compañeros de trabajo y con todos nuestros clientes.
I am proud to be Latina and being a part of a company that values the contribution of my culture, my individuality and my point of view. I am very glad to have the opportunity to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month with my coworkers and with all of our customers.
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