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BGE Blog


Ammanuel Moore, Manager, Economic Development Ammanuel Moore, Manager, Economic Development

Maryland’s energy level is at an all-time high when it comes to focusing on growing the economy. And as a partner in this effort, BGE works to support business attraction, retention and growth. 

One of the first concerns that business owners have when choosing a location for their business is the cost of energy. Our Smart Energy Eco​n​omic Development (SEEDSM) program helps them save money by reducing energy and construction costs for qualifying new and expanding businesses in central Maryland – helping them create jobs and invest while invest more in their operations. So far more than a dozen approved businesses are participating in the program creating roughly 1,100 potential jobs.

Another way we help support business is through energy efficiency and conservation programs. Through our Smar​t Energy Savers program, businesses are able to manage energy costs through rebates on qualifying energy efficient equipment purchases, which also contributes to lower energy consumption.  Since the program’s inception in 2008, business customers have saved more than $10M.

BGE New Homes We are committed to working with our economic development partners to make sure businesses take advantage of our programs. We recently hosted our Energizing Business Growth Breakfast where we highlighted our programs and shared ways in which we can help our customers find business success. It’s through these venues, our partnerships, and programs that BGE works to help strengthen the business community. If you’re an owner or operator and you’re interested in learning how we might help your business, I invite you to exp​lore our programs​ or contact us. Wishing your business much success.

AM


Richard Yost, Sr. Communications SpecialistRichard Yost, Sr. Communications Specialist

Since its humble beginnings in 1982, Artscape has grown into America's largest free arts festival, attracting more than 350,000 attendees over three days. BGE is sponsoring this year's event to help celebrate our 200th anniversary.

Artscape takes place July 15-17 in the Mount Royal, Bolton Hill and Station North Arts & Entertainment District neighborhoods of Baltimore. Join us at the BGE Main Stage at The Maryland Institute College of Art which will feature international and regional musicians like Wycleff Jean and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

BGE focuses our charitable contributions on four areas: education, environment, community development and arts and culture. We celebrate the role of arts in our neighborhoods and look to support arts and culture programs that contribute to the health and vitality of the BGE community. Artscape definitely fits the bill!

Our support of this and other corporate citizenship programs is made possible through the use of Exelon shareholder dollars.  Exelon and its subsidiaries, including BGE, committed to maintaining an average of $7 million in annual charitable giving in Maryland in the decade following our merger.

This year's outer space theme, "Explore What's Out There," is inspired by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). Merging art and entertainment, Artscape offers an out-of-this-world experience – we hope you can find the time to blast off with us!

The event is free and will feature over 100 fine artists, fashion designers, visual art exhibits, sculptures, photography, live concerts on outdoor stages, delicious, international food and much more!

For more information visit, artscape.org


Aaron Koos, Sr. Manager CommunicationsAaron Koos, Sr. Manager Communications

​The stars and stripes will be flying proudly for Independence Day, including the flags that are part of our Spring Gardens murals in South Baltimore. 

The murals depict the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, less than two years before our company was founded as the first gas company in the country.  That flag was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s poem that was eventually set to music as the national anthem of the United States, the Star-Spangled Banner. 

Unlike today’s flag with 13 stripes and 50 stars, the Star-Spangled BanSpring Gardens, flag tankner had 15 stripes and 15 stars to represent the number of states in the union at that point.  In Baltimore you can visit Fort McHenry, or the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House that was the home of Mary Pickersgill who stitched the flag.   The actual Star-Spangled Banner is on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. 

We’re excited that our murals help mark Baltimore’s proud Star-Spangled Banner history.  We’re also proud to sponsor fireworks and Independence Day celebrations throughout our service area to help mark BGE’s 200th Anniversary. 

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth!


Chris Burton, Vice President, Electric DistributionNothing strikes fear in the heart quite like a glimpse of a steely gray shark fin.  But to BGE’s electric customers, fins can be a welcome sight.  Around the BGE service area, you have to look up to see the fins (no, it’s not a sharknado).  

Fin's on powerlinesThe fins are triangular pieces of electric equipment that are installed on power lines.  They are a type of disconnect switch that crews call “shark fins.”  They are used to de-energize part of a power line when there is damage to the line.  

The shark fins allow customers on one side of the switch to have their service restored while repairs can be made safely on the other side. That can greatly reduce the duration of power outages.  BGE has been installing these switches—nearly 2,000 of them —and other equipment to help segment the grid to limit the effect of outages. 

Electrical FIN exampleAnother BGE fin is the “Fix-It-Now” or “FIN” crew.  These skilled construction crews have more capabilities and equipment to restore service safely and quickly.  BGE deploys FIN crews to help speed restoration efforts whenever possible.

The result of BGE’s reliability investments and process improvements has been customers experiencing fewer and shorter outages.  Service reliability is the best in the company’s history over the last several years.

So, as Discovery Channel airs its annual Shark Week, keep an eye on the sky.  You might just spot some fins.   


Justin Mulcahy, Sr. Communications SpecialistJustin Mulcahy, Sr. Communications Specialist
Many graduations are taking place this time of year and families like to mark these occasions with mylar balloons. While festive, these balloons can pose a serious threat to public safety if they aren’t properly tethered or disposed.  If one of these foil-coated balloons gets loose and makes contact with a power line or floats into a substation, their metallic properties can lead to a surge of electricity that can cause equipment to short-circuit, leading to power outages, fires or serious injuries.

How do you prevent this?  It’s actually fairly simple. 

  • Keep mylar balloons secured at all times and attached to weights.
  • Do not tie these balloons to your child’s wrist. 
  • Remember to properly dispose of mylar balloons by puncturing the balloon to release helium that otherwise could cause theMylar balloon caught in powerline balloon to float away.

These balloons have been known to float for days and can end up having a negative impact on the environment, so make sure to throw them in the trash when the party’s over.

Additionally, never touch a power line and always assume that these lines are live. Keep yourself and your belongings at least 10 feet away from power lines. If you see a balloon entangled in an overhead power line, never attempt to retrieve the balloon, rather contact BGE at 1-800-685-0123.

 
BGE customers can learn more safety tips by visiting www.bge.com.


Justin


Ingrid Woods, Sr. Community Relations SpecialistIngrid D. Woods, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
So, what is Paul’s Place?  The mission of Paul’s Place is to be a catalyst and leader for change, improving the quality of life in our communities.

Exactly one year ago, I was fortunate enough to be accepted on the Board of Paul’s Place and actively serve.  One of the ways that I give back is by introducing others to this wonderful gem through volunteerism.

According to the Volunteer Coordinator at Paul’s Place, here are some impressive stats from 2015 regarding its volunteer program:Paul's Place group photo

  • Volunteers contributed 39,089 hours including 24,557 from regular and one-time volunteers and 14,532 hours from Paul’s Place Ambassadors.  Over 80 corporations, including BGE, volunteered 3,000 of these hours.   
  • The value of the 39,089 volunteer hours totaled $901,783.23.
  • Hundreds of volunteers cooked and served 58,564 meals with dignity and respect.
How does BGE’s “Energy for the Community” volunteer program fit into the scheme of things?  On April 13th,
 
29th and May 4th, I invited a total of 20 of my fellow BGE employees to spend the morning and early afternoon with me at Paul’s Place. 

 

After the tour, BGE employees participated in a unique morning ritual where all the volunteers gathered in the dining-area, stood up to introduce themselves (in 10 seconds or less) and recited readings and positive words for the day.  Many of the BGE employees shared how impressed they were with the programs and services.  

Paul's Place group photo 2One BGE volunteer, in particular, sent me a very nice email describing her volunteer experience on April 13th at Paul’s Place:

“Thanks, Ingrid.  I thoroughly enjoyed my task as a personal shopper while participating in such a much needed and worthy cause yesterday at Paul’s Place.  Paul’s Place is truly an awesome one-stop shop that provides a friendly community oriented environment that helps restore and gain the dignity of those in need.  Ingrid, I commend you for doing a great job and for coordinating and supporting a unique organization.  Let me know if you have anyone in need for a personal shopper for purple ensembles.

Thanks,

Diane"

 
To learn more about Paul’s Place, visit http://paulsplaceoutreach.org and more about BGE’s volunteer program at Energy for the Community.

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, with approximately 20 million Americans participating in environmental activities or marching peacefully in favor of environmental reform. Earth day is now observed in almost 200 countries and celebrated by more than a billion people every year.  Many communities now celebrate Earth Week, and in fact, much of the month of April focuses on environmental issues that the world faces.

The familiar saying, “Think Globally, Act Locally” encourages people to take action in their own communities in grassroots efforts to preserve their local environment for future generations.   BGE and its employees have been committed to improving the environment in the communities we serve for many years.  This includes promoting and educating customers about energy efficiency, partnering with communities in neighborhood and park clean-ups, and protecting wildlife habitats. 2016 NVW Patterson Park Garden Project

This year, BGE employees exhibited at several “Green Expos”, sharing information about energy efficiency, conservation, and BGE programs which save customers energy and money. Hands-on volunteerism also included partnering with the Audubon Society in sprucing up an area in Patterson Park, planting a community garden with the Community Action Council of Howard County, and participating in an area school Earth Day Exposition. It is particularly rewarding to see students, who are the future caretakers of the planet, become engaged at an early age. 

As environmental stewardship is one of BGE’s core values, each year BGE awards grants to organizations who initiate projects dealing with green space preservation, wetlands restoration and habitat protection. 

Other projects eligible for grants include education about the environment, energy efficiency, and community engagement such as neighborhood and park cleanups, and pollution reduction. 

The BGE Green Grants Program opened on April 1, 2016, with grants ranging from $1000 to $10,000.  Any 501c3 nonprofit organizations within the BGE service territory which have programs that demonstrate a commitment to environmental improvements in the community are eligible to apply.

Applications for The Green Grants program must be received by May 16, 2016. Eligible organizations may apply online at www.bge.com/giving

Bob 


Ingrid Woods, Sr. Community Relations SpecialistIngid D. Woods, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
On a brisk Saturday morning in April, BGE was among 50 volunteers from local businesses that partnered with Better Business Bureau (BBB) at its 9th Annual Shred Day.  The goal of Shred Day was to bring about awareness to identity theft by inviting the public and business communities to shred up to three containers of sensitive documents per vehicle.  

 Shred Day photo 1
The free event drew over 1,600 cars, SUV’s, vans and trucks carrying personal documents.

They lined up simultaneously at the Timonium Fairgrounds and at Corporate Place in White Marsh.
 
Iron Mountain, a company that is AAA certified by the National Association for Information Destruction, was tasked with shredding 38.2 tons of documents at both locations. Since 100% of paper documents were recycled, over 300 trees in the forest were saved based on a Sierra Club article. As indicated on the organization’s website, the Sierra Club is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization with more than 2 million members and supporters.
 
Volunteers did everything from managing the flow of traffic to receiving documents from customers to distributing recycled bags with identity theft information and giveaways.  So, why were BGE employees on hand to support Shred Day?  We were there for the following reasons:  
 
  • Shred Day photo 2BGE understands the important role that protecting the environment plays in every aspect of business.  We have a longstanding commitment to protect and enhance the environment in the communities around us.  As a result, we also support and applaud the initiatives of individuals and corporations that share the same values including BBB. 
  • BGE has an Employee Resource Group, Eco-Team Baltimore, whose mission is to “promote, support and drive implementation of ‘green’ business practices that are good for the company and good for employees, contractors and their families.”
  • Lastly, to provide great customer service.  BGE takes pride in providing excellent customer service in many aspects—speaking with customers on the telephone, engaging with customers while delivering presentations, representing the company at community events and even volunteering at Shred Days.
To get more information about BBB serving Greater Maryland, visit http://bbb.org/greater-maryland and for more about other BGE volunteer events, visit bge.com/community.

​On April 1, BGE announced the launch of the Smart Energy Workforce Development program, a joint effort with local workforce development agencies and vocational schools to increase awareness of job opportunities and hiring requirements at BGE. 

Energy Workforce Development photo 1At our kick-off summit, Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of BGE, expressed to over 30 organizations from central Maryland, our efforts to increase the applicant pool for the BGE Utility Trainee program. The program helps entry-level employees develop the fundamental skills needed to work safely on our company’s natural gas and electric systems. He acknowledged that we are not seeing the pool of entry-level employees that reflects the BGE community, and also acknowledged there are a variety of challenges citizens  face, from socio-economic issues to insufficient exposure to these opportunities.

Energy Workforce Development photo 2The summit was focused on addressing some of those challenges. To do so, BGE has committed to helping governmental and nonprofit workforce organizations and vocational schools prepare individuals for the Construction and Skilled Trade (CAST) test, a utility industry standard that is a first step on the path to a career in energy. Furthermore, BGE will be providing train-the-trainer workshops to prepare these organizations’ instructors for leading the Test Preparation Course.  These efforts will allow organizations to learn how they can help individuals be better prepared job applicants.

Energy Workforce Development photo 3Some additional highlights from the summit included OneBaltimore Chair and BGE Board Member Michael Cryor discussing how access to skilled jobs with competitive pay and benefits is a critical component to empowering local residents to contribute to the local economy. In addition, participants were moved by the words of Tamika Stephens, Utility Trainee graduate, who shared her experience in the Utility trainee program and expressed how rewarding it was to be member of the BGE workforce. The summit also included a tour of the White Marsh Training Center as well as an informational session with the human resources department about job requirements and career opportunities.
 
As we strive to accomplish our goal of increasing the diverse pool of job candidates, I look forward to sharing how we are providing more opportunities for high school students and recent graduates to gain hands-on experience through internships and apprenticeships. It is important to us that BGE is viewed not just a potential employer but a community and civic partner as well.
 
For more photos of the Smart Energy Workforce Summit, visit flickr.com/photos/mybge.

Michael Davenport, Manager, Community AffairsMichael Davenport, Manager, Community Affairs

At BGE, the safety of our customers and employees is our first priority and a core value. BGE is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for our employees through frequent and extensive safety training and opportunities. That commitment also transcends to the communities we serve by offering safety and energy savings tips and information to our customers. 
 
200th Anniversary Exhibit photo 1 Earlier this month, BGE served as an exhibitor and sponsor of the B’More Healthy Expo Safety Zone held at the Baltimore Convention Center.  Among our goals for participating in the B’More Healthy expo is to help the public make the connection between safety and wellness and realize, much like our employees, that being safe requires not only thought, but action. 
 
200th Anniversary Exhibit photo 2With the continued growth and success of B’More Healthy expo, the event now boasts over 120,000 square feet of exhibit space to accommodate over 165 exhibitors.  This year approximately 34,000 visitors attended.  With this year being BGE’s 200th anniversary, our exhibit featured a walk through time where we featured a few prominent developments which helped establish and shape the industry and the direction of our company. 
During the expo, BGE representatives enjoyed interacting with customers and visitors to our exhibit space as well as discussing our programs, services and practical tips for using energy safely and efficiently. Many of the visitors to our exhibit area where intrigued by some of the artifacts on display including a section of gas pipe made out of wood before the introduction of cast iron pipes.
 
This was displayed beside the new state of the art durable plastic
pipe being used today.  Our display also included a gas meter dating back to 1844 and an electric meter from the early 1900’s alongside a modern day smart meter.  We also displayed copies of stock certificates issued in 1818 and 1851 as well as copies of gas bills from the early 1900’s.  These items were quite the conversation starters and many visitors commented how our exhibited felt like they were visiting a museum. 
 
200th Anniversary Exhibit photo 3Perhaps more important, our exhibit illustrated how the company and industry is continually evolving to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of operations to better serve our customers.  As we continue to celebrate our 200th anniversary throughout this year, we hope to share with you interesting information and factoids about BGE and the industry.  Baltimore has much to be proud of and one of those points of pride is being a city of many firsts of which BGE is one among many. 
 
To learn more about our 200th anniversary and legacy gifts planned for the community, visit 200bge.com.  Also, to learn more about important safety tips and information, visit us online at BGE.com. 
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