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For Immediate Release


Tasha Jamerson

Howard County School Wins BGE’s Natural Gas Safety Contest

Resurrection-St. Paul School in Ellicott City takes $10,000 Top Spot

BALTIMORE (Jan. 24, 2019) – BGE  today announced Resurrection-St. Paul School in Ellicott City as the winner of "The Adventures of Captain Mercaptan®, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge." The annual contest challenges public and private elementary students at schools in BGE's service area to illustrate gas safety messages featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE's fictional natural gas safety superhero.  The first-place comic strip drawn by Aaliyah, a fourth-grade student, will be featured in a BGE natural gas safety advertisement in February.

"BGE's natural gas safety contest not only taps into children's creativity, it also helps reinforce important information that can be life-saving," said Christopher Burton, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. "Educating our customers, especially children, on how to remain safe around natural gas is a priority at BGE.  These important gas safety messages benefit their schools, families, and the communities that we serve."

Participating schools can win up to $10,000 towards a school enrichment project.  In addition, a teacher from the grand prize-winning school receives a $500 gift card and teachers from the other winning schools receive $100 gift cards. Overall, $35,000 is awarded by BGE to the winning schools, and since the contest's inception BGE has awarded $210,000 to area schools. 

"I am thrilled that Resurrection-St. Paul School has won this award," said Principal Karen Murphy. "This BGE program is a great example of how the STEM curriculum can be taught in a creative way that allows students to use their gifts to illustrate the importance of natural gas safety. I commend teacher Kate Johnston for taking advantage of this opportunity."

Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak, and the steps they need to take when they smell gas.  Captain Mercaptan's name is derived from "mercaptan," a safety additive 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 during BGE's first "The Adventures of Captain Mercaptan" contest.

Eighteen area schools submitted 60 drawings and safety messages in the contest before the public voted and a panel of judges selected the winners. Nearly 49,000 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 are:

  • $10,000 Captain's Choice and BGE Hero Awards (Fourth grade): Resurrection-St. Paul School, Ellicott City, MD.
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award (Kindergarten): Perry Hall Christian School, Perry Hall, MD.
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award (First grade): St. Michael-St. Clement School, Baltimore, MD.
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award (Second grade): St. Joseph School, Cockeysville, MD.
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award (Third grade): Fallstaff Elementary, Baltimore, MD.
  • $5,000 BGE Hero Award (Fifth grade): Woodbridge Elementary School, Catonsville, MD.

Captain Mercaptan teaches 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 800.685.0123.

BGE traces its roots back to 1816 and is the first natural 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. 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 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 (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, 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

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