Recent warmer temperatures will likely offset bill impact of brief cold snap in early January
BALTIMORE, Feb. 8, 2012 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today, announced that if the warmer-than-normal weather continues, its customers will likely experience a significant decrease - approximately 16 percent - in winter heating bills this season. In addition to the warmer-than-normal temperatures, as compared to last winter’s colder-than-normal weather, these reductions are driven by a decline in commodity prices for natural gas and electricity. It is important to note that an individual customer’s bill will vary depending primarily on the energy efficiency of the home, condition and efficiency of the furnace or heat pump, and any changes in usage.
The typical residential gas customer can expect a total gas bill of approximately $486 for the period beginning Nov. 1, 2011, and ending March 31, 2012, a decrease of nearly $100, or approximately 16 percent, when compared to the same period a year ago. For the same period last winter, the typical gas customer paid $584 to heat their homes. This reduction is driven by milder November, December and January weather conditions, as compared to last winter’s colder-than-normal weather, along with a lower projected commodity price for natural gas. BGE’s average commodity cost for natural gas is currently estimated to be approximately 58 cents per therm this winter compared to 62 cents per them last winter.
Residential electric customers who purchase their power from BGE and whose primary heating source is electricity can also expect to pay less to heat their homes this winter. For the typical electric residential customer with an electric heat source this means an expected total electric bill of approximately $1,040 from Nov. 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012, compared to approximately $1,240 during the 2010 — 2011 heating season — a decrease of $200 and approximately 16 percent. BGE’s non-summer weighted average price for electricity this winter is 8.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to approximately 10 cents per kWh hour last season.
“BGE customers are benefiting from the milder-than-normal temperatures and a lack of significant snowfall thus far this winter by using less energy, which will be reflected in their bills,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “This winter is in stark contrast to what BGE and its customers experienced exactly two years ago in 2010 when Central Maryland was in the middle of back-to-back blizzards which brought historic snowfalls and triggered significant increases in energy usage due to cold temperatures and families spending more time at home.”
Despite unseasonably warm temperatures, customers should still consider sealing gaps in windows and doors and adding insulation to keep warm air inside and reduce the running time of heating systems. Customers should also take advantage of the many programs offered as part of BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program®, including Quick Home Energy Check-Up, rebates, lighting discounts and other incentives for purchasing energy efficient appliances and heating and cooling systems. Seasonal energy management information can be found in the Winter Ready <http://www.bge.com/waystosave/residential/resguidestips/winterready/Pages/default.aspx> section of BGE’s website.
Additional energy management options for BGE residential customers include Budget Billing, which evens out payments over a 12-month period and limits the impact of seasonal increases in usage. Qualifying customers are also urged to apply for energy assistance and weatherization assistance. BGE’s Limited Income Energy Efficiency program <https://www.bgesmartenergy.com/residential/limited-income> can help reduce out-of-pocket gas and electric expenses for limited income customers. Some customers may qualify for the repair or replacement of inefficient gas furnaces and heat pumps through this program. Other resources available to our customers include BGE's Consumer Reference Book, which is mailed to every residential customer each year and is available online, and the Community Resource Guide, also available online.
Customers also have the option to purchase natural gas and electricity from third-party suppliers that may offer lower prices or longer fixed-price terms than BGE’s Standard Offer Service. More than 260,000 BGE residential customers are already shopping for electric suppliers and nearly 105,000 residential customers are shopping for natural gas suppliers. This represents approximately 24 percent of the utility’s residential electric customers and about 17 percent of its residential gas customers. A list of qualified residential suppliers can be found at www.bge.com.
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 a 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.