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
Richard Yost, Sr. Communications Specialist
Keeping the lights (and A/C, TV, computer, etc.) on is how we best meet our customers’ expectations. By continuing to invest in our infrastructure and ensuring our people are trained and equipped in the best way possible, we were able to make 2015 our best year in terms of outage frequency and also reduce average outage durations by 45 minutes over the previous three years.
But when a customer does experience an outage, it’s not unexpected to expect their satisfaction to drop. But according to a Cogent Reports study from Market Strategies International, BGE customers who experienced an outage report higher levels of Brand Trust than customers who haven’t.
What’s the secret?
In addition to working as hard as possible to restore power, the findings attribute this to four factors:
One way we stay connected to our customers is through our mobile website and online outage map, both of which our customers use two-times as often as our peer utilities according to MSI. This is no accident as we use every means possible to let our stakeholders know about these valuable and easy-to-use resources. We also made it possible for customers to text us about outages and receive updates.
When outages do occur, by being transparent, sharing information quickly and working to restore power as soon as safely possible, we hope to keep our customers satisfied.
But we know that providing reliable power is the key to keeping our customers’ trust – and what we strive to achieve every day of the year.
Richard Yost, Sr. Communications Specialist
You swerve to avoid a deer in the road and end up striking a utility pole. Next thing you know, wires have fallen and landed on your car.
What do you do?
Thanks to the efforts of BGE and the Anne Arundel County Fire and Police Departments, more than 100 BGE participants in the company’s annual Severe Impact Storm Drill were treated to a live demonstration of what to do if this occurs.
A mock live wire and broken wire were placed on a smashed car containing a lifelike dummy. At the start of the demo, police arrived to secure the scene, BGE deenergized the wires, and the fire department removed the roof of the car to rescue the trapped occupant.
Viewers learned the following steps to take to stay safe:
BGE also invited the media to help spread this important safety message to customers. Baltimore’s CBS 13, ABC 2, and Fox 45, as well as DC's CBS 9 ran segments on the demonstration. Also, the Annapolis Capital put together a nice photo series on the coordinated response.
William T. Rees, Jr., Senior Business Analyst, Vegetation Management UnitIn Anne Arundel County,
Muddy Creek is a sleepy stream that empties into the Rhode River. But when heavy rains hit, a span of the Creek that crosses a BGE transmission right-of-way (ROW) turns into a high-speed sediment delivery service headed straight for the Chesapeake Bay.The
West/Rhode Riverkeeper reached out to BGE for assistance in restoring the stream – the erosion and heavy sediment negatively impacts the environment. And in this case, it also represented a potential long-term threat to BGE's 500 kV circuit and 34.5 kV pole line on the ROW.BGE saw the environmental benefit in restoring Muddy Creek and also the ability to protect electric reliability for its customers. BGE funded approximately one-third of the project's cost to help the Riverkeeper go forward with the work, which was completed in late July.
The stream now features several gradual curves to slow water velocity, newly created wetlands that will catch overflow and new plantings stabilize stream banks. Frogs have already moved into the wetlands, a quick endorsement for the works' effectiveness.The area will also be maintained as an
Integrated Vegetation Management site, eliminating invasive species and fostering sustainable natural ecosystems.This restoration effort is the largest and most complex undertaken by the West/Rhode Riverkeeper and another way for BGE to move smart energy forward by preserving future reliability and the environment.
The Baltimore chapter of the Organization of Latinos at Exelon (OLE) showed up in force to support Soccer Without Borders-Baltimore (SWB) at its annual Small Goals Big Change tournament.
OLE helped organize and field three full teams, raising more than $3,000 that will help SWB provide enrichment opportunities to newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant boys and girls through year-round programs with an emphasis on academic enrichment and mentorship.
“Our teams got in the field with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and played a great game,” said Faviola Donato-Galindo, a BGE senior community relations specialist. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts from OLE, Developing Young Professionals and BGE HOME, our group raised the most money for SWB’s important work with the city’s growing refugee population.”
SWB raised more than $12,000, the most for any event in the national organization’s history. The organization emerged in 2009 to provide opportunities to the city’s burgeoning refugee population through soccer-based programming that encourages healthy living while developing English-language abilities, teamwork, academic success, and cross-cultural skills.
OLE is a resource group for employees dedicated to strengthening employee relationships, supporting recruitment, promoting professional development and raising diversity awareness for the Latino community in the Maryland region.
For more about SWB, please visit their website.
Vanessa Ofori, Social Media Intern
Exelon, and more specifically, BGE, has continuously sought out to innovate, enhance, and promote advantageous work environments – making “Diversity and Inclusion” an important pillar. This journey has thus paved the path for events like the Exelon’s Women of Leadership Panel that I recently had the pleasure of attending.
It’s no secret that historically, the glass ceiling effect has been a common experience for women around the world. At BGE, we take pride in building a diverse and inclusive environment where all employees can grow and contribute their greatest potential. Women in well-deserved managerial roles include, Shaina Green - VP of Commercial Business Execution, Samara Moore - Director of IT Cyber Strategy & Engagement, Dawn White - Manager of Regional Capacity Planning, and Laura Wright- Director of Exelon Utilities Security Programs, all who resemble the driven and diverse workforce in Baltimore.
Each of these women candidly spoke on their ladder climb in their relevant business units and how their qualities prompted them to their respected success. Regardless of their individual journeys, each speaker agreed that the culture of this company was the added catalyst to bring their careers to new heights.
“You want to be able to bring yourself to work, be yourself, and for others to be themselves too,” Laura Wright said in regards to what bringing Diversity and Inclusion in a company really means.
Messages like this seemed to remind everyone in the room to first take the time to understand and develop oneself, no matter any set differences, and then to partake in experiences that accept freedom of diversity. However, amidst the medley of races, ages, genders, and talents within the discussion, it became apparent that there was a greater message that we all intrinsically took away.
The presence of everyone alone further supported BGE’s culture where we listen, understand, and encourage success across the board. Along with each speaker’s own hard work and diligence, mentorships and sponsorships throughout their careers was the benefit like no other.
In life, different situations ultimately arise that do not only test our effectiveness in communicating with people of different backgrounds, but also our ability to unify different perspectives to collaborate. That’s life and that’s what our company helps inspire and drive.
I am proud to say that BGE’s future looks bright, as it will be the prime example for me of what progressive integration and collaboration looks like.
In 2006, Moveable Feast was asked by The Susan G. Komen Foundation to deliver meals and groceries to families impacted by breast cancer and it’s grown since then. Today, Moveable Feast serves 14 of the 24 counties in Maryland, offering its services to individuals who have a broad range of life threatening illnesses and cannot afford or do not have the ability to prepare healthy foods themselves.
The outstanding and compassionate work of the staff of Moveable Feast is supplemented by volunteers in the kitchen and garden and in the delivery of meals to clients. In 2015, over 3100 individual volunteers donated 27,000 hours in the preparation and delivery of almost 850,000 meals to 5700 clients.
Employees from various departments at BGE regularly volunteer at Moveable Feast. The BGE Community Affairs team recently volunteered at Moveable Feast, spending the morning helping to prepare 1,100 meals for delivery.
The typical work duties of the Community Affairs team are to increase customer awareness of BGE programs and services, but it is always a privilege to volunteer and give back to the communities where we live and work. We hope to visit Moveable Feast again in the near future.
For more information on BGE’s commitment to employee volunteers or to request BGE volunteers for your organizations’ projects, visit the safety and community pages on bge.com.
Ingrid Woods, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Last year, BGE employees, family members and friends volunteered over 25,000 hours to 200 different non-profit organizations throughout our service territory. The Community Affairs team volunteered at HorseNet Horse Rescue in Mount Airy as one of its activities both last year and this summer.
So, what is HorseNet Horse Rescue? HorseNet Horse Rescue “opened its doors” in 2000 to help horses who had come from abusive situations. HorseNet Horse Rescue facilitates the rescue and rehabilitation of horses in hopes of finding them good homes.
How can volunteers help?
Donate your time:• Feeding and grooming horses• Filling water buckets in each stall• Stacking hay• Mowing grass and weed whacking• Painting and repairing fences• Cleaning stalls
Donate your dollars:
• Because HorseNet Horse Rescue is a no-kill facility, they are currently caring for approximately 50 horses. So, dollars are welcomed to help feed, care and provide shelter for these horses.
If you are interested in learning more about HorseNet Horse Rescue, visit their website at www.hnhr.org. To learn more about BGE’s volunteer efforts or to request BGE volunteers for your organization’s projects and events, visit bge.com/community and complete the online form.
BGE’s Spring Gardens campus has been in continuous operation since 1855 and today is a base for approximately 600 employees, electric and gas operations, a regional customer contact center and three hard-to-miss Maryland-themed murals in South Baltimore.
What most people don’t know is it’s also a thriving wildlife habitat. On July 26, Patterson Park Audubon Center recognized this and named the 72-acre industrial facility an Audubon Bird-Friendly Habitat. We are extremely proud to be the first corporation to earn this recognition!
Bird-friendly habitats support residential and migratory birds by providing food, water, shelter, and a suitable place to raise their young. More than 50 different bird species have been identified at Spring Gardens, which is also the site of a pollinator garden, a 155 kW solar array and a 100-foot wide riparian forest buffer along the site’s waterfront.
BGE’s commitment to the environment is a core value of the company. We achieved the gold standard certification for environmental management, ISO 14001 certification and have been an EPA ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2012. In addition, since 2013, the company has given 28,000 free trees to customers through a $500,000 grant to the Arbor Day Foundation. BGE’s Green Grants program also awards grants of up to $10,000 to non-profits dedicated to environmental programs throughout central Maryland each year.
Patterson Park Audubon Center works to protect birds and their habitats and to improve Baltimore for birds and people. Click
to learn more about bird-friendly communities and how to take part in the
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