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For Immediate Release

Contact

Tasha Jamerson

tasha.jamerson@bge.com

BGE Ready to Provide Safe and Reliable Service This Winter

Customers are encouraged to prepare for colder weather


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BALTIMORE (Nov. 7, 2019) – As temperatures begin to dip, BGE has been hard at work completing projects necessary to ensure the company's natural gas and electric systems are ready to meet the energy needs of its customers all winter long. As part of this effort, the company is investing approximately $1.7 billion this year to inspect equipment, complete targeted system enhancements and corrective maintenance, invest in new equipment, and perform vegetation management work.

By the end of 2019, BGE will have invested approximately $600 million in the natural gas system to provide safe and reliable service for customers. This work includes equipment inspections, repairs and replacements, preventive maintenance, and reinforcement projects. Since 2010, major gas system reinforcements have been installed in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties. BGE has also secured natural gas contracts and filled its storage facilities to maintain gas supply for its customers.

BGE is also replacing existing gas mains with durable new pipes that will deliver gas safely and reliably to communities well into the future. Part of this work involves replacing cast iron and unprotected steel mains at an accelerated rate under BGE's Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement (STRIDE) gas system modernization plan. Through STRIDE, BGE will have replaced more than 200 miles of gas mains and more than 42,000 service pipes connecting customers to the gas system by the end of 2019.

Electric system upgrades and maintenance in preparation for winter weather have occurred on schedule as part of the approximately $1.1 billion BGE is investing in the company's electric system during 2019. In addition to inspecting more than 4,500 circuit miles of overhead power lines and more than 40,000 utility poles this year, the company is also taking steps to minimize the threat to power lines by trees weakened by heavy snows and winter storms with $25 million in vegetation management near overhead lines.

"BGE is committed to reliably meeting our customers' energy needs during the cold, winter months," said Stephen Woerner, BGE president and COO.  "Our employees work year-round to keep our systems running safely. This important work has resulted in fewer outages with shorter durations when outages do occur and goes a long way toward providing our customers with distinctive customer service.  We also appreciate the efforts our customers take to prepare their homes and explore ways to use energy more efficiently and safely. This way they can better manage energy costs when temperatures drop."

As BGE prepares for winter, customers are reminded to prepare as well, by following these helpful tips:

  • Maintain Your Heating Systems – Most of your cold weather energy expenses are related to heating your home. Schedule service for your heating system to find out what maintenance is required to keep your system operating efficiently.
  • Lower Your Water Heating Costs – Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) and save.
  • Adjust the Temperature – When you are at home and awake, set your thermostat as low as it is comfortable for you. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat down 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to schedule your temperature settings. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
  • My Account Online Tools – Your BGE online account offers helpful tools and detailed energy usage information. By tracking your energy usage right after you use it, comparing usage trends, and discovering the results of energy-saving practices, you can manage your energy more efficiently. Log on to BGE.com/MyAccount to get started.
  • Sign up for High Usage Alerts – Receive a notification by phone, email or text if your energy usage is trending higher than usual so you can take steps to reduce your use before your bill arrives. You can also set a budget threshold to alert you when your bill is projected to be higher than a specific amount each month. Log in to My Account to sign up for High Usage Alerts at BGE.com/MyNotifications.
  • Keep Your Natural Gas Appliances Vents Clear – Know where your natural gas appliances vent to the exterior and ensure the vents are clear.  Some high efficiency gas appliances, such as water heaters and furnaces, vent along the foundation of buildings. If these vents become blocked by snow or ice, exhaust may back up resulting in carbon monoxide build-up or a release of natural gas.  

BGE customers are encouraged to visit bge.com/alerts  before winter weather grips the region. Customers can receive updates on their energy usage and information regarding power outages via text, email, or phone, including when power is out, when service is expected to be restored, or when power is restored. In addition, customers can text "ADDOUTAGE" to MYBGE (69243), to enroll in the two-way texting program to report outages and check the status of their outage.

For customers not currently using natural gas, new programs and incentives are available to help make choosing natural gas more affordable. For BGE residential customers who purchase their natural gas from BGE, natural gas commodity prices are more than 50 percent lower than they were in 2008. 

Customers who already have gas mains on their streets may be eligible to have the gas service lines installed at no cost.  Customers installing new high-efficiency gas furnaces are eligible for a $250 rebate. And while installing high-efficiency gas furnaces, customers are encouraged to upgrade their central air conditioning systems and get up to $650 in additional rebates. According to the American Gas Association, customers switching from electric heating and cooking to natural gas can save up to $874 a year.  For more information, go to bge.com/gasconversion or call 1-800-233-1854.

 

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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. Connect with BGE on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, YouTube, Flickr, and engage with the latest BGE stories on bgenow.com

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.


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