BGE Releases Cold Weather Data for 2012-2013 Winter Heating Season
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Releases Cold Weather Data for 2012-2013 Winter Heating Season
Although natural gas prices remain at historic lows, energy usage increases with recent colder weather; customers may see higher energy bills as a result
Customers may be able to offset increased usage and save through BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program® and shopping for a third-party energy supplier
BALTIMORE, March 1, 2013 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) <http://www.bge.com/Pages/
For the period of November 2012 through February 2013, central Maryland experienced 633 hours where temperatures were at or below freezing. This is nearly 30 percent higher than the same period last winter, which saw only 498 such hours. According to the WSI Weather Service, this winter, although relatively mild, has been 24 percent colder than last winter during the same time period.
“Heating and cooling typically accounts for nearly half of a home’s annual energy use,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Although BGE’s commodity prices have remained stable and customers are seeing rates for both electric and natural gas at some of the lowest prices in the past decade, extreme weather generally triggers significant increases in energy usage, which in turn can lead to higher-than-expected bills. Even when the thermostat is kept at the same temperature, heating units must work harder to maintain the set temperature. Additionally, old or inefficient heating systems typically use more energy than newer, more efficient systems.”
Though this winter is expected to be colder than last winter, this winter’s projected total gas bill would be the second lowest total winter gas bill for BGE customers in the last 10 years, second only to last year. This is a result of stable, lower global natural gas prices and BGE’s commodity acquisition strategy.
While gas and electricity usage for most customers increases during extremely cold weather, usage for customers who heat with electric heat pumps may actually double because auxiliary heating is activated when the temperature drops to below freezing. In addition, colder temperatures can keep family members inside more often, which can result in an increase in energy use for lights, heat, cooking and electronics.
Customers are encouraged to set the thermostat to 68 degrees or lower. For every degree below 73 during the winter, customers may save two to four percent on heating costs. Customers who heat with natural gas should consider setting the thermostat to 68 degrees during the day and 65 degrees at night.
Shopping for a competitive third-party supplier, combined with the offerings from BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program® <https://www.bgesmartenergy.
Customers may also want to consider BGE’s Budget Billing <http://www.bge.com/myaccount/
BGE recognizes that there are some customers who may be challenged to pay their heating bills. For qualifying customers, financial and billing assistance <http://www.bge.com/myaccount/
“Through energy assistance application events and energy conservation workshops and outreach, BGE has already reached more than 370,000 customers this year,” said Mills. “Other resources available to our customers include our Consumer Reference Book <http://www.bge.com/
BGE encourages customers not to wait until they are in crisis to ask for help but rather to contact their local Office of Home Energy Programs <http://www.baltimorehousing.
The following are steps that all customers can take to reduce energy consumption and lower heating bills:
· Consider BGE’s Quick Home Energy Check-up <https://www.bgesmartenergy.
· Change the furnace filter regularly. A dirty filter forces the furnace to work harder.
· During the winter, for systems other than heat pumps, set thermostats at 68 degrees F, if health allows. This can help customers see a 3-4 percent decrease in energy use.
· Consider a programmable thermostat, which can save 10-25 percent in energy costs all year when programmed to lower temperatures when no one is home in the winter and higher temperatures when no one is home in summer.
· Install an approved insulation blanket around the water heater and insulate the first three feet of water pipe (keep insulation at least 6 inches from the flue on gas water heaters).
· Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees F.
· Wash clothes in cold or warm water and rinse in cold water to reduce water heater usage.
· Caulk and weather strip windows and doors to keep cold air out.
· Go to www.bge.com <http://www.bge.com/Pages/