For Immediate Release
BALTIMORE (Oct. 2, 2019)– Today, BGE announced that it has been directed by PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, to activate a PeakRewards Emergency Cycling Event. BGE activates its PeakRewards program when the demand for electricity is close to surpassing the supply and there is an immediate need to reduce demand to prevent potential brownouts and blackouts area-wide.
During a PeakRewards emergency cycling event, the central air conditioner of all PeakRewards Air Conditioning program participants will be cycled up to their chosen participation level. For customers who have chosen to participate at the 50 percent level, their air conditioner will be off for half the time they would normally run. For participants at the 75 percent level, their air conditioner will be off for three-quarters the time they would normally run. Customers who participate at the 100 percent level will have no air conditioning for the duration of the emergency cycling event, meaning no cool air will be produced. PeakRewards Electric Water Heater program participants will also experience a 100 percent cycling of their electric water heaters, meaning their water will not be heated until the event ends. During a cycling event, the word "SAVINGS" should appear on Honeywell Utility Pro thermostats, a leaf icon will appear on ecobee3 lite thermostats and the ecobee app, or a red light will illuminate on the PeakRewards switch on or near the outdoor central air conditioning unit or electric water heater to indicate a cycling event is occurring.
Due to the need to reduce peak electric demand throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, BGE cannot predict the duration of this emergency event, however, it could last up to six hours or longer if system reliability requires a longer transition to normal operations.
As the emergency event ends, BGE will transition all PeakRewards Air Conditioning program participants to a lower cycling level for a short period of time to maintain system reliability. Program participants may not opt out of an emergency event or the transition out of an emergency event. However, customers who have a medical or health condition or require assistance should call the PeakRewards customer hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325). Customers can also find more information at the Peak Rewards Event page.
While PeakRewards program participants receive summer bill credits in exchange for allowing BGE to cycle their air conditioners, BGE understands that the cycling may cause some inconvenience or discomfort. BGE recommends participants consider the following tips for staying comfortable during a PeakRewards activation:
More than 300,000 customers are enrolled in the PeakRewards program, those participants will receive guaranteed summer bill credits for allowing BGE to "cycle" their air conditioning on and off with a professionally installed programmable thermostat or outdoor switch, up to their chosen participation level of 50, 75 or 100 percent.
BGE thanks those customers who participate in BGE's PeakRewards program for helping to reduce peak electric demand and ensuring the reliability of the electric delivery system. PeakRewards customers receive annual bill credits of $100 to $200 in the first year of enrollment and $50 to $100 every year thereafter. The more than 300,000 participating PeakRewards program customers have helped reduce peak energy demand by approximately 270 megawatts or roughly the size of a medium power plant. PeakRewards participants received over $22.1 million in bill credits last summer for their voluntary participation in the program last year and helped BGE avoid potential brownouts and blackouts, which could have affected all or part of its 1.2 million electric customers in central Maryland.
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 energy delivery to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. In the J.D. Power 2017 and 2018 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study SM BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Electric Service in the East among Large Utilities. In addition, in the J.D. Power 2018 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study SM BGE received Best in Customer Satisfaction with Business Natural Gas Service in the East. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (or "BGE") received the highest score in the East Large segment of the 2018 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study and the East Region of the 2018 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study of electric and gas utility customer satisfaction among business customers. Visit jdpower.com/awards.