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For Immediate Release


Justin Mulcahy

Harford County School Takes $10,000 Top Spot in BGE's Natural Gas Safety Contest

​BALTIMORE (Jan. 23, 2018) – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced Fountain Green Elementary School as the winner of “The Adventures of Captain Mercaptan,” BGE’s Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge. The annual contest challenges public and private elementary school students at schools in BGE’s service area to illustrate gas safety messages featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE’s fictional natural gas safety superhero, for a chance to win up to $10,000 towards a school enrichment project. Overall, $35,000 is being awarded by BGE to winning schools and $140,000 has been awarded to winning schools since the contest’s inception.  The first-place comic strip will be featured in a BGE natural gas safety advertisement in the spring.

“Educating our customers, especially children, on how to remain safe around natural gas is a priority for BGE,” said Christopher Burton, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. “BGE’s natural gas safety contest taps into children’s creativity to help them remember important gas safety messages that will benefit their schools, families and communities.”

Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak and what steps to take when they smell gas.  Captain Mercaptan’s name is derived from “mercaptan,” an additive to natural gas used by BGE and other utilities 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 during BGE’s first “The Adventures of Captain Mercaptan” contest.

“We are so excited about this award!” said Fountain Green Elementary School Principal Alison Donnelly.  “To be the first Harford County school to earn the top prize in this contest is truly an accomplishment, and I could not be prouder.  We always talk about educating the whole child, and this goes to show that the daily lessons in all subject areas, including fine arts, are important and applicable.  We are grateful for the monetary award, which will be used to purchase laptops to continue to prepare our students to be digital citizens.”

12 area schools submitted 40 drawings and descriptions of Captain Mercaptan before public voting and a panel of judges selected the winners. Nearly 25,000 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, Fountain Green Elementary School, Bel Air, MD

· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Perry Hall Christian School, Perry Hall, MD

· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, St. Stephen School, Kingsville, MD

· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, North Bend Elementary School, Jarrettsville, MD

· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Immaculate Conception School, Towson, MD

· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, St. Joseph School, Fullerton, MD

Children can be a hero like Captain Mercaptan by following these simple safety tips:

  • Use your nose. Mercaptan is an odor that BGE adds to 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 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 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.

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