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healey.jpgAccording 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.

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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.

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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.​


Richard


Aaron Koos, Director of Communications

Yes3_1200x630_SMS_Photo_Contest_Share_Dialog.jpgterday, 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. 

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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

Justin.jpgIt’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.

Justin


John Murach, Manager, Energy Efficiency Programs

winners.jpgLess 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:

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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:

  • Myth: EVs can only support short trips, not daily commutes.
    Fact: The average commute is 40 miles or less, and most EVs are
    designed to go 50 or more miles per charge, with several in the 100 – 200 mile or more range.  The EV's can be recharged between trips to assure plenty of miles to get where the driver needs to go. With plug-in hybrid EVs (which also have a gas engine), you can go up to 300 miles or more.
  • Myth: EVs will make your energy bill go way up.
    Fact: Charging an EV will add more energy use to a home that doesn't have an EV.  But the cost of electricity is much lower than the cost of gasoline per mile travelled, ultimately saving drivers on fuel costs. Savings can increase if drivers take advantage of off-peak charging rates or special utility EV rates.  
     
  • Myth: EVs are far more expensive than the average car.
    Fact: Federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 are currently available, as well as potential state and local incentives. Also, overall service and maintenance costs for EVs are much lower than that of comparable gas or diesel cars. Studies show the total cost of ownership for an EV can be lower than that of other vehicles.
     
  • Myth: EVs aren't "clean." Instead of burning gas, they run off of electricity produced at dirty power plants.
    Fact: Even when construction costs and emissions from power plants are taken into consideration, EVs contribute significantly less greenhouse gases to the environment than traditional gas-fueled cars.

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.

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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!

John


 ​Richard Yost, Sr. Communications Specialist

healey.jpgOsprey 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.  

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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 ospreywatch@bge.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.

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Even in the off season, any customer who identifies a nest on or near utility equipment can let BGE know by following these steps:

  • Report the location of the osprey nest via ospreywatch@bge.com:
    • If the pole is easily accessible, send the pole number, located on a placard near eye level on the pole.
    • If the pole is not easily accessible, send the nearest address to the pole and attach photos of the pole if possible.

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.

Richard


Lynn Hrdlick, Principle Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist

Allyson_0008.jpgOn 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.

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"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.

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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

HaBO.jpgbitat 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.text.jpg

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.

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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

Bob


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 p193mayor16T40_3414 - Copy.jpgower, the findings attribute this to four factors:

  • Our commitment to system reliability and strong operational performance.  We’ve been investing billions of dollars in upgrades and maintenance (so outages are minimized) 
  • Strong relationships between BGE and our community and its leaders (so we can quickly share trusted info with our customers)
  • BGE’s use of new communications technologies (to meet customers where they expect to hear from businesses)
  • Sharing messages during an outage that go beyond traditional communications on outage numbers and restoration status (so they know what to expect and what’s happening)

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.

195mayor16T40_3418 - Copy.jpgWhen 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 IMG_4455.JPGand 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:

  • If your vehicle is operable:
    • Do not touch the wire.IMG_4450.JPG
    • If you’re able, drive until you are clear of the wires.
  •  If your vehicle is inoperable:
    • Remain in the vehicle and do not reach outside of it.
    • If your safety is threatened (fire, flood, etc.) and you must exit the vehicle:
      • Exit the vehicle from a door as far away from the wire as possible.
      •  Jump out of the vehicle to clear it) and skip (do not walk) to a location as far away from the car is possible.
  • When first responders or BGE arrives on the scene, always follow instructions.
  • Also, if you see a wire on the ground, always assume it is energized. Even if it is still, electricity could be running through the wire.
  • Never touch a wire on your car or on the ground.

JDPOwersTV ads.JPGBGE 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 Unit
In 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.

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