Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

For Immediate Release


Richard Yost

Last Chance to Enter BGE's Natural Gas Safety Contest

To date, BGE has awarded $175,000 to area schools during first five contests

BALTIMORE (Nov. 5, 2018) – Last call for entries! The deadline for entering "The Adventures of Captain Mercaptan®, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge" is Nov. 11. Public and private elementary schools in BGE's service area are invited to submit comic strips illustrating a natural gas safety message featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE's fictional natural gas safety superhero. 

Beginning Nov. 19, entries will compete during a two-week, online public voting period to advance to the final round where a panel of judges will score each comic strip based on creativity, depiction of natural gas safety and illustration artistry. Winners will be announced in January 2019. The contest will award a total of $35,000 to eligible schools with the top winner receiving the $10,000 BGE Captain's Choice Award. In addition, the teacher from the grand prize-winning school will receive a $500 gift card and teachers from the other winning schools will receive $100 gift cards.

Elementary schools are urged to download the online entry kit at and read BGE's comic book where Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak and what steps to take when they smell gas. The kit also includes lesson plans that cover natural gas safety concepts and elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Captain Mercaptan's name is derived from "mercaptan," a safety additive put in natural gas to give it a distinctive rotten egg odor that makes gas easier to detect.  The superhero and his safety sidekicks were designed by elementary school students through the BGE contest. 

Eligible schools will have an opportunity to win the following awards:

  • BGE Captain's Choice Award - $10,000 overall top winner
  • BGE Hero Award - $5,000 for winners in kindergarten through fifth grade (one winner per grade)
  • Rock the Vote (for the drawing with the most online public votes) – BGE backpacks full of school supplies and safety gear

Captain Mercaptan teaches children that they can be a hero too if they follow these simple safety tips:

  • Use your nose. Mercaptan is a safety scent that BGE puts in natural gas to give it a rotten egg smell.
  • Use your ears. Listen for the hissing sound of escaping gas.
  • Use your eyes. Look for dirt being blown into the air, dead plants or grass in otherwise green areas, fire coming from the ground or water bubbling and being blown into the air.
  • If you detect natural gas, leave immediately.
  • Don't attempt to detect the source of the leak.
  • Don't use matches or turn anything on (including a cell phone).
  • Find a safe place outside and call BGE or have an adult call 800.685.0123.

BGE traces its roots back to 1816 and is the first gas utility in North America. Today the company provides safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 650,000 gas customers in central Maryland. Customers are reminded to immediately contact BGE at 1.800.685.0123 from a safe location if they have any questions or concerns about natural gas. Gas safety tips are available at


BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility and headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility. The company's approximately 3,200 employees are committed to safe and reliable power delivery to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. J.D. Power's 2017 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study SM ranked BGE highest in customer satisfaction with business electric service in the east among large utilities. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of $5 billion of output in its service area, supporting more than 9,500 local jobs and producing $923 million in labor income. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube  and Flickr.

© Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, 2023. All Rights Reserved.