BALTIMORE — BGE is investing more than $1.7 billion during 2018 in the electric and natural gas systems serving customers with safe and reliable energy
BGE asks customers to prepare for winter weather which can cause heating systems to work harder in order to maintain comfort, increasing energy usage and average bills.
To ensure that customers’ energy needs are met this winter, BGE has completed natural gas and electric infrastructure system upgrades throughout its service area.
“Our dedicated employees work throughout the year to ensure that BGE can reliably provide energy to our customers, especially during the cold, winter months,” said Stephen Woerner, president and chief operating officer of BGE. “We continue to innovate to offer tools and programs that can help our customers prepare their homes and learn to use energy more efficiently. This gives everyone more control over their energy costs during temperature extremes.”
By the end of 2018, BGE will invest approximately $600 million in the natural gas system to provide safe and reliable service for customers. This work includes equipment inspections, repairs and replacements, preventive maintenance, and reinforcement projects such as the recently completed pipeline along Elvaton Road in Anne Arundel County. Since 2010, major gas system reinforcements have also been installed in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties. BGE has also secured natural gas contracts and filled its storage facilities to maintain gas supply for its customers.
BGE also replaces existing gas mains with durable new pipes that will deliver gas safely and reliably to communities well into the future. Part of this work involves replacing cast iron and unprotected steel mains at an accelerated rate under BGE’s Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement (STRIDE) gas system modernization plan. Through STRIDE, BGE will have replaced more than 170 miles of gas mains and more than 35,000 service pipes connecting customers to the gas system by the end of 2018.
Electric system upgrades and maintenance in preparation for winter weather have occurred on schedule as part of the approximately $1.1 billion BGE is investing in the company’s electric system during 2018. In addition to inspecting more than 4,500 circuit miles of overhead power lines and more than 40,000 utility poles this year, the company is also taking steps to minimize the threat to power lines by trees weakened by heavy snows and winter storms with $25 million in vegetation trimming near overhead lines.
As BGE prepares for winter, customers are reminded to prepare as well by following these tips:
•Maintain Your Heating Systems—
Most of your cold weather energy expenses are related to heating your home. Schedule service for your heating system to find out what maintenance is required to keep your system operating efficiently.
•Lower Your Water Heating Costs—
Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) and save.
•Adjust the Temperature— When you are at home and awake, set your thermostat as low as it is comfortable for you. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10 perent a year on your heating bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
•My Account Online Tools— Your BGE online account contains tools and detailed energy usage information. By tracking your energy usage right after you use it, comparing usage trends, and discovering the results of energy-saving practices, you can manage your energy more efficiently. Log onto BGE.com/MyAccount to get started.
•Sign up for High Usage Alerts— Receive a notification by phone, email or text if your energy usage is trending higher than usual so you can take steps to reduce your use before your bill arrives. You can also set a bill threshold to alert you when your bill is projected to be higher than a specific amount each month. Login to My Account to sign up for High Usage Alerts at BGE.com/MyNotifications.
•Keep Your Natural Gas Appliances Vents Clear— Know where your natural gas appliances vent to the exterior and ensure the vents are clear. Some high efficiency gas appliances, such as water heaters and furnaces, vent along the foundation of buildings. If these vents become blocked by snow or ice, exhaust may back up resulting in carbon monoxide build-up or a release of natural gas.
More information can be found at BGESmartEnergy.com