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BGE Systems Ready to Provide Safe and Reliable Service this Winter

BGE is investing more than $850 million in the electric and natural gas systems serving customers with safe and reliable energy

BALTIMORE (Nov. 3, 2016) – As temperatures begin to drop, BGE has been hard at work to complete projects necessary to ensuring the company’s natural gas and electric systems are ready to meet the energy needs of customers this winter.  BGE asks customers also to prepare their homes and businesses for cold weather that can cause heating systems to work harder and use more energy to maintain comfort.  While last winter brought a record setting snowstorm, it also saw unusually mild temperatures.  The forecast for this winter calls for a return to more normal and colder temperatures.    

“Reliably meeting the energy needs of our customers is always important, particularly during the cold, winter months,” said Stephen Woerner, president and chief operating officer of BGE.  Our dedicated employees work safely year round to ensure that our systems are ready when customers need them, no matter the weather.  We appreciate the steps our customers take to be ready as well, including exploring ways to use energy more efficiently to reduce energy costs that can rise when temperatures drop.”  

In 2016, BGE has invested approximately $260 million in the natural gas system to provide safe and reliable service for customers. This work includes equipment inspections, repairs and replacements, and preventive maintenance. The company regularly installs new gas pipelines to meet customer demand, such as the recentlycompleted, four-mile Route 32 gas main installation in Anne Arundel County and the one-mile stretch of new gas main along Old Montgomery Road in Howard County.  Major gas system reinforcements were also installed in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Harford and Baltimore counties in the past few years.

In addition to adding new pipelines, BGE is replacing existing gas mains with durable new pipes that will deliver gas safely and reliably to communities well into the future. So far this year, approximately 36 miles of aging gas mains have been removed from service as part of BGE’s ongoing upgrades to its gas system. This includes replacement of cast iron and unprotected steel mains at an accelerated rate under BGE’s STRIDE gas system modernization plan. In addition to modernizing equipment, the company has also secured natural gas contracts and filled its storage facilities to help ensure it has the gas supply necessary this heating season for those customers who purchase natural gas from BGE.

Electric system upgrades and maintenance have also been underway in preparation for winter weather. This seasonal readiness work is a part of the approximately $590 million BGE is investing in the company’s electric system in 2016. BGE is inspecting nearly 6,000 circuit miles of overhead power lines and more than 38,000 utility poles this year. The company also takes steps to minimize the threat to power lines by trees weakened by heavy snows and winter storms by spending $27 million trimming vegetation near overhead lines this year.

As BGE prepares for winter, customers are reminded to prepare as well by following these tips:

  • Test your heating system and have it inspected by a qualified technician. Regular service will ensure the heating system operates safely and efficiently for the season ahead.
  • Schedule a free BGE Quick Home Energy Check-up, where an energy efficiency professional will walk with you through your home to provide valuable tips for increased efficiency.
  • Save an average of two percent on your energy bill for every degree you lower your thermostat.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater and conserve hot water when you can.
  • Seal holes and seams in your ductwork and gaps around doors, windows, and outlets.
  • Ensure you have 12 to 15 inches of attic insulation, or an R-38 level.
  • Open curtains and drapes during the day, to let the sun warm your home. Close them at night for insulation.
  • 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.    

Customers should also explore the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® to identify new ways to save energy, money and the environment. During colder weather, heating systems work longer to keep homes warm. Help in paying winter bills is available to income-qualified customers. Call (800) 352-1446 or visit http://www.dhr.state.md.us and click on “Services.”

BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation’s first gas utility, is Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility. Headquartered in Baltimore, BGE delivers power to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,200 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural 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. Like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterYouTube  and Flickr.

 

 

 

 

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