Connections for BGE Residential Customers, January 2015
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Our Line Workers Undergo Tough Training
BGE is dedicated to safely and reliably delivering power to our customers. Our line workers are equipped to quickly and skillfully take action when needs arise – but not until they have proven themselves in some of the industry’s most rigorous training programs and stimulated field operations. In addition to ongoing employee training, BGE invests in safety and reliability through maintenance of emergency response and storm-readiness programs, which are tested with drills throughout the year.

Choosing and training the right people are one of the best investments we make for delivering the reliability you expect.

What else does BGE do to deliver safe and reliable power?

  • BGE replaces more than a thousand utility poles each year.
  • BGE uses infrared imaging technology for early detection of potential faults in power lines and equipment.
  • BGE invests more than $30 million each year to carefully cut back or remove trees that threaten power lines.

Last year, investments like these resulted in 30 percent fewer power interruptions than in the previous three years. To learn more about how smart energy gets more reliable every day, visit BGE.COM/Reliability.

Reliable Energy. Smart Energy.
No More Ups and Downs in Your Winter Bill
Make a WinterReady Checklist with Energy-Saving Improvements

Make a WinterReady Checklist with Energy-Saving ImprovementsColder temperatures make your heating system work harder to keep your business feeling comfortable. Now is the time to make a checklist, with the following energy-saving improvements that can make a difference in your energy bill.

  • Seal holes and seams in your ductwork.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat.
  • Have your heating system tuned up to improve efficiency and comfort.
  • Caulk and seal gaps around doors, windows and even electrical outlets.
  • Install efficient-flow faucets and showerheads to reduce water heating costs year-around.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater, and save on hot water use by not leaving the faucet running and taking shorter showers.
  • Schedule a Quick Home Energy Check-up and energy efficiency professional will install energy-saving improvements at no additional cost to you.
  • Explore the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®, and learn about product discounts, money-saving rebates and energy efficiency programs to help your business.

Visit BGE.COM/WinterReady to find additional tools and resources to help you prepare for the cold weather ahead.

Donate to the Fuel Fund of Maryland Donate to the Fuel Fund of Maryland
Help vulnerable families with their heat and home utility needs. To make your tax-deductible contribution to the Fuel Fund of Maryland, please visit fuelfundmaryland.org.
New Year Equals New Opportunity
Two Hefty Credits Can Help Working Families

Low- and moderate-income families may benefit from two substantial tax credits – the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The income eligibility guidelines and maximum credit amounts for tax year 2014 are listed below:

The Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Families with one child who earn less than $38,511 in 2014 (or less than $43,941 for married workers) are eligible for a credit of up to $3,305.
  • Families with two children who earn less than $43,756 in 2014 (or less than $49,186 for married workers) are eligible for a credit of up to $5,460.
  • Families with three or more children who earn less than $46,997 in 2014 (or less than $52,427 for married workers) are eligible for a credit of up to $6,143.
  • Workers without a qualifying child who earn less than $14,590 in 2014 (or less than $20,020 for married workers) are eligible for a credit of up to $496.
  • Investment Income Limit = $3,350.
New Year Equals New Opportunity

The Child Tax Credit

  • Child Tax Credit is worth 15 percent of a family’s earnings above $3,000, up to a maximum of $1,000 per qualifying child who is under age 17 at the end of 2014.
  • The Additional Child Tax Earnings Threshold is $3,000 in 2014.
  • The credit begins to phase out at $110,000 in adjusted gross income for married taxpayers filing a joint return, and at $75,000 for single and head of household filers.

Please contact your tax professional for advice specific to your circumstance. Call 2-1-1 for a list of locations that offer reduced price or free tax preparation services for income-qualified households.

Make a Smart Meter Choice
Make a Smart Meter Choice BGE will now begin enrolling customers who have not responded to multiple installation requests into the smart meter opt-out program, with the approval of a Maryland Public Service Commission order issued on November 25, 2014. After 15 attempts at contact, including letters, phone calls and a visit to their location, BGE will consider these customers as opting out and assess the related fees – an initial cost of $75, billed in three monthly installments of $25, and an additional monthly fee of $11. BGE will provide 30-day notice to customers who have not responded to attempts to upgrade their gas and electric meters before assessing the opt-out fees.

For customers with outdoor, accessible meters, no action is necessary for the upgrade. Customers must make an appointment if at least one meter is located indoors, behind a locked gate, or otherwise inaccessible. If a customer has one upgraded meter, but an additional meter that BGE cannot access, BGE will assess the opt-out fees. Customers who do not yet have a smart meter should call BGE at 855.470.8800 to schedule an appointment. For more information on smart meters and related benefits, visitBGE.COM/SmartEnergy.

Readiness and Restoration
Winter Storm Preparedness and Safety Information

If a winter storm hits and power outages occur, BGE has a plan in place to respond safely and efficiently. Our storm restoration efforts are comprehensive and all BGE employees are dedicated to restoring your service. To prepare, we regularly:

  • Inspect utility poles.
  • Trim trees and vegetation to enhance our system reliability.
  • Conduct emergency training drills.
  • Review our Electric Delivery Emergency Response Plan.
  • Work closely with emergency response operations, such as hospitals, police and first responders.
  • Coordinate mutual assistance with other utilities in the event a storm would cause extensive damage to our distribution system.
Readiness

Just as BGE prepares for severe weather and the possibility of power outages, your family should also review important storm safety information and create and emergency preparation plan.

  • For the latest weather forecast, call the Weatherline at 410.662.9225
  • Make a contingency plan for any family members with special needs, including the elderly, infants, disabled or those dependent on electricity for medical equipment.
  • Consider filling your vehicle’s fuel tank.
  • If you rely on well water, consider filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather.
  • Keep a storm safety kit handy and stocked with a battery operated clock radio, fresh batteries, non-perishable foods, drinking water, utensils, manual can opener, first-aid kit, corded phone, fully charged cell phone and blankets.
Winter Storm Preparedness and Safety Information

Restoration

  • If you lose service, notify BGE immediately at 1.877.778.2222 or through bge.com
  • Stay away from any downed power lines and call BGE immediately if you see any wires that are down. If a wire falls across your vehicle while you are inside, do not get out until emergency help arrives and they instruct you that it is safe to exit.
  • Position generators in a well-ventilated area and follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Check BGE’s mobile-enabled outage map available at bge.com for restoration progress and updates.

BGE is committed to keeping customers updated on our efforts – through our customer contact center, website, social media and traditional media outlets. For more information about BGE’s storm preparation and a list of storm safety supplies, visit BGE.COM/StormCenter.

NOTE: Customer bills issued after December 15, 2014, reflect new delivery service rates authorized by the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Connections
FOR BGE RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS
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BGE.com/connections  |  January 2015
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