For Immediate Release
Customers are encouraged to visit bge.com/WinterReady for information about conserving energy throughout the winter months
BALTIMORE (Jan. 29, 2015) – Throughout the colder winter months, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) strives to provide its customers with important energy saving tips to help ease the sting of the frigid temperatures. Although commodity prices remain stable and total bills have seen a steady decline over the past several years, extreme weather can trigger an increase in usage, which may result in higher-than-normal energy bills.
For the period of November 1, 2014 through January 28, 2015, central Maryland experienced 584 hours when temperatures were at or below freezing, making this time period approximately 5 percent colder than normal weather conditions. However, due to declining electric and natural gas supply prices, impacted by the global energy markets, total monthly bills remain lower than in 2009. Even though prices are going down, as temperatures plummet energy use goes up.
"During the cold winter months, heating systems typically account for more than 40 percent of customers’ energy bills because extreme weather generally triggers significant increases in energy use at home," said Rob Biagiotti, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. "Although BGE commodity prices remain stable, the forecasted low temperatures will likely cause energy usage to increase, even for customers who leave their thermostats at a set temperature, as heating systems must work harder and longer to maintain the set temperatures. Without taking steps to save energy during these times, energy bills will reflect additional usage and will likely be higher than in months when temperatures are more moderate. We encourage all customers to think about simple steps they can take in their home to save energy each day, no matter the temperature outside."
Customers who heat with older model electric heat pumps are especially vulnerable to sharp increases in usage when auxiliary heating is activated during cold weather. On days when the temperature dips below freezing, a heat pump can use 2 to 3 times as much energy as it does compared to periods when the temperature is above 30 to 40 degrees.
"Although colder temperatures are the primary driver for increased energy use during the heating season, there are many other contributing factors, some of which may not be as obvious," said
Biagiotti. "When it’s bitter cold outside, many families spend more time at home, cooking, watching television, and using computers and other electronics. While we can’t control the weather, customers can control how they use energy, even during periods of extreme temperatures."
Customers are encouraged to visit bge.com/WinterReady for tips and information on saving energy, even on the coldest days. Customers can also find information about "winterizing" their homes and preparing their families for the winter heating season. BGE offers customers a variety of low-to-no-cost ways to make their homes more energy efficient, saving energy and money. The following are steps that all customers can take to reduce energy consumption and lower heating bills:
Shopping for a competitive third-party supplier, combined with the offerings of the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®, provides customers with many options for reducing their energy bill and better managing energy costs this winter. In addition to rebates for qualifying energy-efficient appliances and price mark-downs on energy-efficient lighting, customers should also consider scheduling a Quick Home Energy Check-up, which consists of a visual inspection of the home to determine its level of energy efficiency and recommendations for improving its efficiency.
Although prices remain stable and BGE offers innovative programs, BGE recognizes that there are some customers who may still be challenged to pay their heating bills. For qualifying customers, financial and billing assistance is also available.
To assist customers with their winter heating bills, BGE offers a Budget Billing program, which spreads payments out over a 12-month period so customers are not as affected by seasonal increases or spikes in usage.
BGE encourages customers not to wait until they are in crisis to ask for help but rather to contact the Maryland Office of Home Energy Programs online or by calling
1.800.352.1446 to apply for energy assistance before receiving a turn-off notice or having service denied.
For more information on cold weather energy saving tips, visit bge.com/WinterReady.
BGE, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 655,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2013 revenues of approximately $24.9 billion. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.