BGE Says Hot Weather May Result in Higher Bills
This, in from the “Stating the Obvious” department: Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) has sent a media release stating that the extremely high temperatures from June and July may result in higher-than-expected bills in August.
“Although electric commodity prices are down nearly 25 percent since 2009, increased energy usage during extreme weather can significantly affect customers’ energy bills,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Even though some customers may have experienced a multi-day outage from the derecho, and while customers do not pay for energy they do not use (such as during an extended outage), those customers may still see a higher-than-normal bill as a result of the significant number of days in July with extreme temperatures.”
According to Weather Services International, there were 19 days in July when the temperature was at or above 90 degrees and three days when the temperature was at or above 100 degrees. The month of June also brought several consecutive days of high temperatures. In June 2012, there were 20 days when the temperature was at or above 80 degrees, 12 days when the temperature was at or above 90 degrees and one day when the temperature was at or above 100 degrees.
“It’s important to remember that even customers who leave their thermostats at a set temperature will experience an increase in use when the temperature is extremely hot because cooling systems must work harder to maintain the set temperature,” said Mills. “Additionally, old or inefficient cooling systems typically use more energy than newer, more efficient systems. To help alleviate the impact of extreme temperatures and to help customers better manage their energy bills, BGE offers a host of programs, billing options and other important information that customers should consider.”
Through its BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®, BGE offers many incentives, including rebates of up to $1,150 for participation in its residential heating and cooling programs. Customers can also enroll in BGE’s PeakRewards℠ program, designed to help reduce peak electric demand, which helps reduce energy prices and ensure the reliability of the electric system.
BGE PeakRewards customers receive annual bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of enrollment and up to $100 every year thereafter. In 2011, customers participating in the programs received nearly $30 million in bill credits and bonuses and bill credits will exceed $20 million this year alone. In 2011, the program helped reduce peak demand by more than 600 megawatts (MW) – equivalent to a medium-sized power plant – and as a result, last summer helped BGE avoid potential brownouts and blackouts, which could have affected all of its 1.2 million electric customers across central Maryland.
BGE also provides information on the Summer Ready section of its website, bge.com. Customers may access BGE’s online energy calculator to learn more about how their homes use energy, as well as low-cost and no-cost measures they can take to improve the efficiency of their homes. Some examples include:
- Setting air conditioner thermostats at 78 degrees or higher. Every degree above72 degrees saves 5 to 7 percent on cooling costs.
- Delaying the use of heat-generating appliances such as stoves, ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers until after 9 p.m. when the temperature begins to drop.
- Taking shorter hot showers. Heating water is the second biggest energy drain in the home.
- Having a professional inspection of central air conditioning systems to ensure optimal efficiency.
- Sealing gaps around windows, doors and wall outlets.
- Checking/adding insulation in attics to reach an R-30, the depth of 12 inches.
- Scheduling a BGE Quick Home Energy Check-up to discover opportunities for making a home more energy efficient.
- Taking advantage of BGE price mark-downs on compact fluorescent light bulbs which use approximately 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and burn cooler.
- Using only lights that are necessary.
- Consider unplugging computers, cable boxes and other electronics which stay on even when not in use.
BGE customers can also manage energy bills by enrolling in the Budget Billing program, which helps even out payments over a 12-month period. Also, qualifying customers can apply for energy assistance by visiting bge.com.