Ammanuel Moore, Economic Development Manager
A rising tide lifts all boats. This expression, which has been used in many economic conversations, points to the notion that as the economy benefits, so does its participants. From global economies to right here in Maryland, we can see this effect. When local businesses flourish, jobs are more abundant, investment and consumer activity increases and tax revenues grow. Combined together, this can improve a citizen's quality of life.
BGE is a staunch supporter of Maryland's effort to grow its economy. Through partnerships with state and local economic development agencies, we provide energy cost saving programs that make the state more attractive for new and expanding businesses. We also continuously invest in our electric and gas systems to ensure we're able to meet the energy needs of Maryland's growing business community.
From replacing pipes and wires to trimming trees and upgrading meters, this work helps support thousands of jobs and saves customers money by enabling better energy management and cost-savings programs.
In January, we released our latest economic impact study (focused on 2015 data) published by the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. Among many key highlights, the study shows that BGE contributes more than five-billion dollars in economic value to the state through our general operations. Each year, we spend more than one-billion dollars on goods and services, which helps to support thousands of jobs and households throughout the region. More than a third of what we purchase is spent with local business and more than 25 percent of our total spend is with diverse certified companies.
As Maryland's largest utility, BGE recognizes the role it can play in helping to drive Maryland's economic growth. We're committed to working with state and local government, businesses, support groups and residential customers to ensure that we are operating efficiently, constantly innovating and applying our resources, including the energy of 3200 employees, to create the greatest good for Maryland.
Justin Mulcahy, Communications Manager
For some, the images of Mondawmin Mall are of rocks and bricks being thrown nearly two years ago during the unrest in Baltimore.
But the images during the recent grand opening of TouchPoint Baltimore at Mondawmin were of people smiling, hugging and even shedding a few tears. It was a moment nearly two years in the making.
So what is TouchPoint Baltimore?
Corporate sponsors BGE and Whiting-Turner partnered with four nonprofits—Thread, Baltimore Corps, Center for Urban Families and Invested Impact to create a space at Mondawmin Mall for collaboration among nonprofits, corporate partners and the community.
"We wanted to make a difference. We wanted to show the community that we care and that we are here to support them," said BGE Chief Executive Officer Calvin G. Butler Jr. "This is a place for citizens to go when they think there are no options left."
The four nonprofits have missions that complement each other and the TouchPoint mission. Services include mentoring, tutoring, workforce development, life skills support, leadership development and entrepreneurial support.
"Growing up in the inner city, you see things that are tempting and that you might want to indulge in," said Devin Morton, a Thread graduate. "Being in the Thread program has shown me there is a different way of living and it has helped me to become a productive member of society."
The hope is that the creation of TouchPoint will serve as a model for other corporations and nonprofits and be implemented in other communities for maximum impact.
For more information on TouchPoint, please visit http://www.touchpointbaltimore.org/
John Murach, Manager Energy Efficient Programs
At the most basic level, any vehicle that is powered by electricity from a plug-in rechargeable battery is an electric vehicle (EV).
But did you know there are different types of EVs?
Many EVs on the road today rely on a gas engine to extend driving range or increase the vehicle's power. But BEVs are becoming more prevalent and accessible like with the 2017 release of Chevy's Bolt.
For those that decide to go electric, whether it a full electric, EREV or a plug-in hybrid, you can expect cost savings on fuel, as electricity is typically less expensive than gasoline on a cost per mile basis. And while electric bills can be expected to increase due to charging the vehicle's battery, the purchases of gasoline will decrease or be eliminated.
But BGE has developed an EV electric rate that provides a price incentive for owners who charge their vehicles during times when demand for electricity (and costs!) are lower and have a either a smart meter or Time-of-Use meter.
This rate varies based on the time of day (lower during off-peak hours and higher during peak hours), updates seasonally and applies to all electricity usage associated with an account. For example, peak hours are between 10 am and 8 pm on weekdays during the summer. If a customer charges their vehicle during off-peak hours (before 10 am, after 8 pm, or anytime on the weekend), they will be charged a lower rate.
If you purchase or lease an EV, please register your vehicle with BGE by filling out this form and to get more information or enroll in the EV electric rate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, trees can help individuals reduce their stress levels while improving water and air quality and also stimulating economic development.
With the creation of Eager Street Park in the middle of Baltimore's Ashland community, residents will gain some of these benefits. In partnership with the Baltimore Tree Trust, a one-acre parcel where 44 derelict rowhomes once stood is now a green space featuring 50 oak, cherry and maple trees funded by BGE through the Arbor Day Foundation.
The trees will shade a new patio, picnic tables, pathways, and create groves of shade and beauty throughout the space. Twenty flowering cherry line Eager Street, and will provide a beautiful frontage to the greenspace.
Partners in the park's construction included Civic Works, which installed paving for paths, patios, and picnic tables and the Ashland Community Association which decided on the park's design and will benefit from the first green space in the area.
The park also helps the City of Baltimore meet regulatory requirements to remove 4,000 acres of existing impervious surface. The permeable green space will filter storm water, contributing to a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.
Aaron Koos, Director of Communications
Yesterday, Baltimore City approved an agreement with BGE on the fees the City charges to run power lines through the City's underground conduit system. This is a win for electricity customers and for the City.
Not only does the agreement lower costs for customers—reducing fees by approximately $17 million annually—it also ensures that the City still has the funding it needs to modernize the conduit system. The outcome will be a safer, more reliable and efficient system.
It's easy to overlook this important piece of infrastructure because it is underground. Hidden below the streets and manhole covers are hundreds of miles of interconnected pipes flowing with the electricity and communications that power our daily lives. Much of the system dates back to early 1900's and like any infrastructure—roads, bridges, water and natural gas—it is in need of continual maintenance and modernization.
As part of the agreement, we will be working with the City to provide input on renovation plans. Not only can we help the work progress, we also can ensure that it is a safe environment for our employees and others who work in and around it every day.
Because conduit is such an important part of the regional power grid, we worked closely with the City to develop a solution. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure the conduit system meets the needs of communities today and long into the future.
Justin Mulcahy, Sr. Communications Specialist
It’s not every day that three Baltimore legends - and Hall of Famers - get together. But that’s what happened Friday in West Baltimore on a field behind James Mosher Elementary School.
Former Orioles Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr. joined Mayor-elect Catherine Pugh, City Council President Jack Young and BGE CEO Calvin Butler to break ground on a youth development park.
The site, Eddie Murray Field at BGE Park, is one of BGE’s 200th anniversary legacy gifts and will host after-school programs in addition to James Mosher Baseball, the oldest continuously operating African American youth baseball league in the country.
“This park is a symbol of BGE’s commitment to the Baltimore region, and we are pleased to provide this legacy gift in our 200th anniversary year,” said BGE Chief Executive Officer Calvin G. Butler Jr. “BGE supports initiatives that positively impact the community, especially the lives of young people-our most precious resource.”
Eddie Murray Field at BGE Park will feature a synthetic turf baseball diamond equipped with dugouts, a backstop, and a digital scoreboard. The field will be gifted to and maintained by the Baltimore City Public School system.
“It’s with great pride that we dedicate this field to my dear friend, Eddie Murray,” said Cal Ripken Jr. “Kids in our local communities need our help now more than ever, especially when it comes to finding a positive environment where they can play, learn and grow. Because of our dedicated partners in BGE, we can provide the youth in West Baltimore with a safe place to simply be kids.
BGE is the major sponsor of the project which is expected to be completed sometime in the spring. The field will be the 61st youth development park built through the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and corporate partnerships.
John Murach, Manager, Energy Efficiency Programs
Less than 10,000 zero emission vehicles (ZEV) have been sold in Maryland since 2011.
But the State of Maryland's goal is to have 300,000 ZEVs on the road by 2025.
Why the push for these vehicles and why should people drive electric (which is the most feasible means to have a ZEV)?
There are four main reasons:
While there are many benefits to driving an electric vehicle (EV), many people are still unfamiliar with their capabilities and true impact on both the environment and individual's bank accounts.
Here are four common myths and the facts behind each issue:
At BGE, we believe that utilities can help advance the adoption of EVs, which will help the State of Maryland make progress on its air quality and Healthy Chesapeake Bay goals. This is another way that BGE is committed to environmental stewardship and helping to move smart energy forward.
Look for more blog posts in the future covering related topics, such as the types of EVs and BGE's EV rate, the relationship between EVs and Maryland's air quality and healthy Bay goals, BGE's EVs, types of charging stations, and more!
Richard Yost, Sr. Communications Specialist
Osprey are one of the Chesapeake Bay region's crown jewels – the raptors' return each March causes nature lovers to gaze skyward as the birds rebuild their nests for breeding season.
But the rebuilding can also cause power outages when their nests reside on BGE's electric equipment. This often happens through dropped sticks or sagging nests which can also endanger the birds.
BGE is committed to reliably and safely delivering electricity to our customers. But BGE is also committed to environmental stewardship and protecting wildlife. For the osprey, this meant developing Osprey Watch, a new program that allows customers to alert BGE when nests are sighted on or near power lines and poles.
This first season was a huge success, as BGE received 23 notifications from vigilant customers in Harford, Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties and Baltimore City. That's smart energy in action!
When a customer emails the location of a nest to email@example.com, a trained crew either shields the birds and nests or removes uninhabited nests. With an average of about 12 outages caused by ospreys each year, this can make a real difference.
In the right setting, we can sometimes relocate the nest to a safe area. This year four nesting platforms were installed: two located at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, one at the Oyster Harbor Community in Annapolis and one in Pasadena.
Even in the off season, any customer who identifies a nest on or near utility equipment can let BGE know by following these steps:
Last year, BGE customers experienced the lowest frequency of total electric outages on record due to investments in infrastructure upgrades, enhanced maintenance and working with other Exelon utilities to share best practices. BGE has invested more than $6 billion in system upgrades since 2002, which is contributing to fewer outages and faster restoration when interruptions do occur.
Hopefully Osprey Watch will continue to help avoid service interruptions while it also keeps the birds safe.
Lynn Hrdlick, Principle Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist
On October 18th, 52 regional organizations were celebrated as 2016 Green Grants recipients at Clifton Mansion, home of Civic Works, in Baltimore City.
The Green Grants program is open to organizations committed to environmental stewardship – the groups this year included a debate league, museum, land trusts, river keepers and more. They were also located throughout BGE's service territory in seven counties and Baltimore City and received a total of $300,000.
"All of our guests this evening strive to either directly better our surroundings or educate others so that we can all be environmental stewards," BGE CEO Calvin G. Butler Jr. stated at the reception. "BGE, and our parent company, Exelon, know that in order to be a good corporate neighbor, we have to take environmental stewardship to heart."
Recipient projects include tree planting and maintenance in Butchers Hill, storm water management in Anne Arundel County, the construction of a sensory garden in Carroll County, increasing pollinator habitat in Hartford County and more.
Since its inception, BGE's Green Grants program has provided more than $1,300,000 to more than 150 organizations across central Maryland in grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
The program is open to 501c3 nonprofit organizations located in BGE's central Maryland service territory that are committed to enhancing the environment for current and future generations. Grants are awarded in the following focus areas: conservation, education, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and community engagement.
To see all 52 recipients, please click here.
Bob Oberle, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, are non-profit stores that sell building materials, furniture, appliances and supplies at discounted prices to redecorate or refurbish homes. The majority of the merchandise is donated by businesses and homeowners, with 100 percent of the profits being invested back into Habitat Chesapeake. In addition to providing quality discounted items to the general public, it also protects the environment by recycling and keeping materials out of landfills.
The BGE Community Affairs team recently had the opportunity to volunteer for several hours at the ReStore in Columbia, Maryland, one of six ReStores in the metropolitan area. Our duties included rearranging furniture for display and other general housekeeping. To help support their mission, please consider visiting a ReStore. You'll help in the efforts to provide affordable housing and may find a great bargain for your own home. For more information and to find the Habitat ReStore closest to you, please visit their website at www.chesapeakerestore.org.
As part of our commitment to the community, our team supports many community organizations and non-profits each year through volunteer efforts. BGE is glad to give back to the community through volunteerism, and we particularly support efforts dedicated to the environment, safety, education, and community development. For more information on our employee volunteering efforts, or to request BGE volunteers for your organization's project and events, please visit our Safety and Community pages on www. bge.com
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