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Simple tips from BGE to help beat the heat this summer

5/15/2015, 1 p.m.
Summer is quickly approaching and Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is ready. In an effort to ensure reliable service ...
Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which include: confusion, hot, dry, flushed skin or cool and clammy skin, lighheadedness nausea

Summer is quickly approaching and Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is ready. In an effort to ensure reliable service for its 1.25 million customers, BGE has implemented its summer preparedness program, SummerReady.

This program positions BGE to manage increased demands placed on the electric system as customers keep their homes and businesses cool in the hot summer months. Through SummerReady, BGE conducts electric equipment inspections and performs maintenance and upgrades. In addition, employees train on extreme weather events and other summer scenarios. Summer preparedness is part of BGE’s ongoing investment in the reliability and safety of the systems serving customers. This includes more than $5 billion invested in system upgrades and expansions since 2002, and an additional $3 billion investment over the next five years.

“BGE works year round to make our natural gas and electric systems more reliable for our customers,” said Stephen J. Woerner, president and chief operating officer for BGE. “Just as we prepare our systems and employees to meet the demands brought by heat and extreme weather, we also work to educate our customers about the many ways they can save energy and money in the summer.”

Electric customers with smart meters— more than one million customers this summer— are encouraged to be ready to take advantage of Energy Savings Days, typically the hottest days of the year when electricity use is at its highest levels. BGE will notify customers that an Energy Savings Day has been scheduled and those who voluntarily reduce their electricity use on Energy Savings Days are eligible to receive BGE Smart Energy Rewards®. These bill credits provide $1.25 for every kilowatt-hour reduced from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. compared to typical usage. Eligible customers received more than $5 million in bill credits during two Energy Saving Days during 2014’s relatively mild summer.

Participants in BGE’s PeakRewardsSM program receive bill credits by allowing their central air conditioner and/or electric water heater to be cycled during periods of peak electricity usage. Last summer, PeakRewards participants received nearly $23 million in bill credits. The more than 320,000 customers who participate in PeakRewards help reduce the likelihood of power outages. Participants have saved approximately 428 megawatts— about the amount of electricity produced by a medium-sized power plant—since the program was started.

Customers can follow these simple tips to save energy and money this summer:

·Turn it off: Turn off all unnecessary lighting and devices.

·Manage your thermostat: Keep thermostats at a constant, comfortable level when at home. Raise the thermostat setting for days of extreme heat to save even more. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping.

·Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply closing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat in your home.

·Use ceiling fans to circulate air: For those without air conditioning, use ceiling fans or portable fans with the windows partially open to circulate fresh air into your home. For those with air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air.

·Use appliances wisely: Run appliances that produce heat (like clothes dryers, ovens and dishwashers) at night when it is cooler.

·Be energy smart: Use energy more efficiently through the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® that includes Quick Home Energy Check-ups, lighting discounts, appliance rebates and many more energy saving programs at BGESmartEnergy.com.

Summer also brings the potential for severe weather such as thunderstorms and hurricanes, which can cause power outages. BGE prepares extensively throughout the year for extreme weather, readying equipment and testing emergency response systems. BGE closely monitors approaching weather systems, assesses the potential impacts on its service area and ensures the appropriate resources are in place before those storms arrive.

BGE encourages customers to be prepared for severe weather and the possibility of power outages, which should be reported to 877-778-2222. Customers with smart meters should continue to report their outages to BGE. Outages can also be reported online via BGE’s Facebook page and on the company’s mobile-enabled website, bge.com. Customers can also visit bge.com to view the company’s outage map and find information about storm preparedness and service restoration.

For more information on BGE’s SummerReady program, storm preparedness, storm safety and wires down safety, visit bge.com/SummerReady.