All customers enrolled in voluntary peak load management program will experience interruptions of central air conditioner or heat pump compressors and/ or electric water heaters at the levels in which they enrolled
As forecasted severe weather moves into the service area, PeakRewards participants who experience a power outage are urged to report that outage by calling 877.778.2222
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has been directed by the PJM Interconnection, the grid operator for the region, to activate an emergency PeakRewards event. This is a transition from the non-emergency cycling event earlier in the day in which customers were only cycled up to 50 percent, no matter their chosen participation level. An emergency activation means that the central air conditioner or electric heat pump compressors—which produce cooled air—of all participating customers, will be cycled at the levels previously chosen by the participants For participants who have chosen to participate at the 50 percent level, compressors will be off for half the time they would normally run. For participants at the 75 percent level, compressors will be off for three-quarters the time they would normally run. During the emergency event, customers who participate at the 100 percent level will have no air conditioning for the duration of the event. Customers participating in the water heater program will also experience a 100 percent cycling of their water heaters, meaning their water will not be reheated until the event ends. In most cases, water in the tank prior to program activation will remain warm. During a cycling event, the word “SAVINGS” should appear on PeakRewards thermostats inside participating customers’ homes or a red light should illuminate on the PeakRewards switch on or near the central air conditioning unit or water heater. BGE cannot predict the duration of this emergency event, however, it could last up to six hours or longer if system reliability requires a longer transition to normal operations.
“While BGE cannot predict the duration of this event, however, BGE will continue to communicate with customers and keep them informed through notifications on bge.com, the PeakRewards Online Access Page and individual email notifications,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Throughout the past few months, BGE has provided reminder communications to PeakRewards program participants focused on their respective voluntary participation levels, as well as reminders of what to expect during both emergency and non-emergency events.”
When the emergency event ends, BGE will transition all air conditioning program customers to a lower cycling level to maintain system reliability. Customers may not opt out of an emergency event or the transition out of an emergency event, however customers who have a medical or health condition or require immediate assistance should call 888.309.PEAK (7325).
Additionally, in advance of the forecasted severe weather, BGE has pre-mobilized its field crews as it is preparing for the potential of weather-related outages. Customers who experience a power outage are urged to call BGE at 877.778.2222 to report their outage or downed wires. PeakRewards participants who experience a power outage due to storm activity and are restored to service during the emergency cycling event will still continue to have their air conditioning units cycled until the conclusion of the emergency event.
While customers receive bill credits for their participation in the PeakRewards program, BGE understands that the cycling may cause some inconvenience or discomfort. BGE recommends customers consider the following tips for staying comfortable during a PeakRewards activation:
· Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
· Consider going to a cool place such as a movie theater, mall or pool
· Relax in the basement where the temperature is typically several degrees cooler than the rest of the house
· Use an outdoor grill or microwave instead of the stove or oven
· Avoid using other heat-producing appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers
· Draw blinds and curtains in rooms that receive a lot of sunlight
· Turn ceiling fan on with blades rotating counter clockwise
BGE thanks its customers for participating in BGE’s PeakRewards program and helping to reduce peak electric demand and ensure the reliability of the electric system. BGE PeakRewards customers receive annual bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of enrollment and up to $100 every year thereafter. Bill credits to participating customers will exceed $20 million this year alone. In 2011, the program helped reduce peak demand by more than 500 megawatts—equivalent to a medium-sized power plant—and as a result, last summer helped BGE avoid potential brownouts and blackouts, which could have affected all of its 1.2 million electric customers in central Maryland.