During the transition period, all customers who voluntarily enrolled in the program are cycled at the reduced 50 percent level
Utility expects to have sufficient electric supply to meet customer demand
Customers still advised to conserve energy wherever possible
BALTIMORE, July 22, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that the PeakRewardsSM emergency load management event is being phased down to a lower level of activation, effective immediately. This transition will help the utility keep the electric system balanced during the extreme heat, while beginning to moderate the impact to our customers who voluntarily enrolled into the program. BGE expects to return to normal operating conditions by approximately 8:00 p.m.
During the emergency period of the event, which began at approximately 11:30 a.m. and ended at approximately 5:40 p.m., all participating customers were cycled at the level they chose, 50, 75 or 100 percent. During this transition period, all participating customers – regardless of enrollment level – are cycled at the 50 percent level – the lowest level of activation. Customers participating in BGE’s Peak RewardsSM program receive bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of participation and up to $100 for every year thereafter, regardless of whether the program is activated.
“The 450,000 BGE customers voluntarily participating in today’s emergency activation of the PeakRewardsSM program helped BGE reduce peak demand by approximately 500 megawatts, equivalent to the amount of power generated by a medium size power plant,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “This action is extremely helpful as BGE continues working with the grid operator, PJM Interconnection, to ensure there is sufficient power to meet our customers’ needs. We thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”
Just as BGE proactively prepares for extreme weather, customers are reminded to take action to limit the impact of hot weather on their energy usage, which in turn, will help them better manage summer energy bills. Customers should consider the following:
-Closing curtains and blinds to keep the sun outside
-Setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher if health allows
-Delaying use of major, heat generating household appliances such as ovens, stoves, dishwashers and dryers, until after 9 p.m. when the temperature begins to drop
-Turning off non-essential appliances, electronics and other devices
-Visiting the Summer Ready section of BGE’s website
-Enrolling in Budget Billing to avoid seasonal spikes in energy usage
-Enrolling in BGE’s PeakRewardsSM program and receive summertime bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of participation. Select the programmable thermostat option for even more energy management tools.
Energy bills are primarily a combination of the rate charged for the commodity and the amount of energy used by the customer. While electric rates are down significantly when compared to previous years, extreme weather generally causes electric usage to increase which can lead to higher-than-expected bills. During the summer months, cooling systems typically account for nearly half of a home’s energy usage. Additionally, old or inefficient cooling systems use more energy than newer, more efficient systems.
While BGE expects energy usage to be very high today, it does not expect to set a new all-time high for summer energy usage. The current all-time record for summer energy usage in BGE’s Central Maryland service area is 7,198 megawatts (MW), set on August 3, 2006. Peak usage for a typical summer day is 5,500 MW. One megawatt equals one million watts and is generally enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,000 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 an indirect subsidiary of Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com, a FORTUNE 500 company also headquartered in Baltimore, with subsidiaries that generate, sell and provide other energy-related services to customers throughout North America.