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For Immediate Release


Justin Mulcahy

Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School Wins $10,000 Top Prize in BGE’s Natural Gas Safety Contest

BALTIMORE (May 11, 2016) – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School as the winner of the third annual “Adventures of Captain Mercaptan℠, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge” at an all-school assembly in Baltimore. The contest challenged public and private elementary school students at schools in BGE’s service area to illustrate a gas safety message featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE’s fictional natural gas safety superhero, for a chance to win the $10,000 top prize towards a school enrichment project. Overall, $35,000 is being awarded by BGE to area schools as part of the contest. The winning image will be featured in a BGE natural gas safety advertisement in the spring.

“The teachers and students at Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School should be extremely proud of their winning illustration, which demonstrates both creativity and knowledge of natural gas safety,” said Christie McMullen, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. “I congratulate Principal Dr. Faith Hibbert, Ms. Claudette McLish and the students on a job well done.”

Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak and what steps to take when you smell gas. Captain Mercaptan’s name is derived from the safety additive mercaptan that BGE and other utilities put in natural gas to give it a distinctive “rotten egg” odor that makes gas easier to detect. The superhero and his safety sidekicks, Sunny and Piper, were designed by elementary school students through the BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge.

Area schools submitted 29 drawings and descriptions of Captain Mercaptan in March before public voting and a panel of judges selected the winners. Nearly 50,000 votes were cast online at In addition to the first place winning prize, a top entry was chosen for each grade level, kindergarten through fifth grade. The winning schools were: 

  • $10,000 Captain’s Choice Award and BGE Hero Award, Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, MD: Third Grade 
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Kindergarten: Jarrettsville Elementary School, Jarrettsville, MD 
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award, First Grade: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Essex, MD 
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Second Grade: Perry Hall Christian School, Perry Hall, MD 
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Fourth Grade: North Bend Elementary School, Jarrettsville, MD 
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Fifth Grade: St. Stephen School, Kingsville, MD

The winning schools will use the awards for school enrichment projects. Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School, which took the top prize and the top third grade class entry, plans to use the funding towards educational murals along with educational enrichment activities during the summer such as reading sessions and field trips.

Captain Mercaptan helps to move smart energy forward by teaching 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 1.800.685.0123.

BGE traces its roots back to 1816 and 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. For more information on the Captain Mercaptan contest, including future adventures, visit Gas safety tips are available at


BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation’s first gas utility, is Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility. Headquartered in Baltimore, BGE delivers power to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,200 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural 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. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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