Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published March 20, 2013

BGE Recognizes the First Day of Spring with Important Customer Safety Information

BGE Recognizes the First Day of Spring with Important Customer Safety Information

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Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Recognizes the First Day of Spring with Important Customer Safety Information

Customers also encouraged to visit for additional information about preparing homes for the warmer months and ways to save energy through the  
BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®  


BALTIMORE, March 20, 2013 –Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) <>  today announced that in recognition of the official first day of spring, the company is committed to sharing important safety information with its customers. BGE is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees by promoting the importance of safety each and every day, and that commitment transcends to the communities the company serves. BGE encourages both employees and customers alike to put safety first in their homes, places of work and communities. 

“The safety of our employees and customers is a top priority at BGE,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE.  “As the arrival of spring brings a surge of energy for spring cleaning, home improvement projects and digging and planting projects, BGE reminds customers to keep safety top of mind. Additionally, we encourage customers to think about ways to prepare their homes for the warmer months, and ways to continue to use energy more efficiently <> . We offer helpful energy-saving tips on <> . In addition, we offer customers a variety of opportunities to save both energy and money through our BGE Smart Energy Savers Programs <file:///C:\Users\e12682\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\QK4FQU83\> .” 

Working Around Overhead Power Lines

Customers and contractors are reminded to stay away from overhead power lines. Spring cleaning tasks involving work that requires using ladders like cleaning gutters, pruning trees or house painting can be dangerous around power lines. If overhead lines are present and you or your equipment will be working within 10 feet of those lines, the law requires that you must contact BGE at 800.685.0123 prior to the start of any work.  BGE will evaluate the site and determine the best course of action. No work can be started until all necessary safety measures are complete.

The Maryland High Voltage Line Act (HVLA) <>  is in place to help prevent unnecessary injuries and to help save lives.  The HVLA applies to both homeowners and contractors. The following are additional tips to help keep customers and families safe around overhead power lines:  

·         Encourage children to play in open fields – not near overhead lines.

·         Avoid flying kites, Mylar/metallic balloons, model airplanes or other toys near power lines.

·         If a toy gets caught in a power line, do not try to remove it - call 800.685.0123.

·         Don’t place swimming or wading pools under power lines.

·         Don’t ever climb utility poles or towers.

·         Don’t build playhouses, tree forts or platforms in trees with power lines in or near them.

·         Never climb trees that are close to power lines. 

·         Don’t plant any trees directly under power lines (this can be an attraction for children to climb).

·         Don’t erect antennas near power lines.

·         Avoid overhead electrical wires when placing or moving ladders and always carry ladders horizontally, not vertically. Even wooden ladders can conduct electricity.

Always assume all lines are energized and always call BGE before starting any work within 10 feet of overhead lines. For more information on safety around overhead lines <> , visit<> . 

Call Miss Utility at 811 Before Any Digging or Planting Project

As customers begin thinking about spring digging and planting projects, BGE reminds all customers to always call 811, the Miss Utility hotline, prior to beginning any digging project in order to have underground utilities properly marked. Failure to call before digging increases the chance of striking an underground facility, which can cause injuries, costly equipment damage and lengthy service interruptions.  

By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, customers are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected. When customers call 811 they are connected to Miss Utility, the local one-call center which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. 

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. 

“Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811,” said Mills. “Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin after a call to 811 and the lines have been appropriately marked. Making the call to Miss Utility also provides the homeowner an opportunity to design or redesign a project to stay as far away as possible from any underground lines.”

Miss Utility can also be reached by calling 1-800-257-7777 or online at For more information on Miss Utility <>  and calling 811 before any digging or planting project, visit <file:///\\nas-omf-25\e16140\My%20Documents\Press%20Releases\2013\\811> .

Plant the Right Tree In the Right Place

BGE’s Tree and Vegetation Management Program <>  helps provide safe and reliable electric service to communities throughout BGE’s central Maryland service area.  Throughout the year, BGE is committed to pruning and removing trees that may cause electric outages along more than 10,500 miles of overhead power lines.  By following BGE’s guidelines for planting near power lines and ground-level transformers, customers can plant trees and shrubs that will enhance the landscape without interfering with utility equipment. 

For safety and service reliability, BGE must keep clear the “wire zone” located at the top of each pole. Additionally, working space is needed for BGE crews to check and service ground-level transformers. BGE provides guidance to customers for planting the right tree <>  in the right place <> . Any tree that grows higher than 25 feet is not suitable for areas near power lines. BGE recommends that customers avoid planting trees and shrubs directly below power lines to limit the potential for safety and reliability issues in the future. However, if you choose to plant directly below power lines, please select trees and shrubs that will grow to a maximum height of 25 feet.  Learn more about BGE’s Right Tree <> , Right Place <>  program, including specific tree species and associate heights, at <> . 

Additionally, BGE recently launched the BGE Energy-Saving Trees Program <> , through the Arbor Day Foundation and Davey Institute, as an effort to help customers reduce energy consumption and meet energy efficiency goals, while reducing carbon footprints and improving the environment. BGE has committed $300,000 to the program, providing 9,000 free trees to customers through an online tool. Customers can reserve their free trees by visiting <> . Properly placed trees help keep homes cool by providing shade from the harsh, summer sun and by slowing cold, winter winds. As part of the Energy-Saving Trees Program, BGE customers can reserve up to two free trees per customer through an online process, as long as supplies last. Customers must agree to plant the trees in an energy-saving location, away from overhead power lines and underground utilities. For more ways to save energy, visit<>  to view BGE’s suite of energy efficiency programs.

Work Area Protection – Respect the Cone Zone

BGE employees and contractors regularly work on or around roads and highways.  These work zones can be extremely dangerous if motorists are inattentive or do not practice safe driving skills. 

“Nationally, four out of five people killed or injured in work-zone crashes are inattentive drivers or their passengers,” said Mills.  “For your safety and the safety of BGE employees and contractors, please respect the cone zone.”

·         Watch for work signage, cones, barriers and vehicle strobe lights.

·         Stay alert and minimize distractions.  Obey state laws for mobile phone use and avoid changing radio stations or reaching for objects.

·         Obey the posted speed limits. When traveling at 55 mph, a car will enter a work zone 1,000 feet away in only 13 seconds.   

·         Obey directions provided when a flagger is present

·         Pay attention to the posted signs.

·         Do not tailgate. The most common work-zone accident is the rear-end collision.

·         Be patient and stay calm.

For more customer safety information, visit <> . 

BGE <> , headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 655,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 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 a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2012 revenues of approximately $23.5 billionLike us on Facebook <>  and follow us on Twitter <> , YouTube <>   and Flickr <> .