With a potentially higher number of severe storms predicted this summer, BGE has been hard at work to ensure safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy and energy services for customers all summer long. The company has invested more than $8 million in critical distribution projects and new technologies to prepare for heat and storms this summer, including upgraded wires, installation of substation and feeder capacitors, execution of switching only load transfers, and the installation of a new substation and feeder.
“We work hard to provide safe and reliable service to our customers and preparations for severe, damaging weather occur all year long,” said Stephen J. Woerner, BGE president and COO. “BGE’s uses of innovative technology like smart meters, enhanced communication tools and changes to scheduling and dispatching practices are critical to improving customer reliability.”
This work is part of the approximately $500 million invested each year in the company’s systems, part of more than $6 billion invested in gas and electric system upgrades since 2002. These include ongoing investments in natural gas pipes, utility poles, overhead power lines, underground cable and other equipment. An additional $4 billion will be invested during the next five years. System upgrades and expansions are expected to lead to fewer outages and faster restoration when outages occur.
BGE completes hundreds of tasks to prepare for the summer season, including system work, testing and drills. BGE employees across the region are ready to respond to severe summer storms or emergencies if needed. And, as part of the Exelon family of companies, BGE now can draw on resources from sister utilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Illinois to restore power quicker after major storms.
The company recently facilitated a media event in conjunction with our spring storm table top. Local media outlets covered the event and were provided information on the importance of BGE’s storm preparation to test emergency procedures and communications along with sharing best practices with our Exelon sister utilities. Reporters were provided access to the Mobile Operations Center, viewed an electric safety demonstration and went up in a bucket truck.
As BGE prepares, customers should prepare too:
Before severe weather hits, customers should:
- Have a supply of bottled water and easy-to-prepare, non-perishable foods available.
- Charge cell phones and mobile devices.
- Have a flashlight with fresh batteries on each floor of your home.
- Visit bge.com/alerts to choose how to receive information, via text, email or phone, including when power is out in their area, when service is expected to be restored, or when power is restored.
- Text “ADDOUTAGE” to MYBGE (69243), to enroll in our two-way texting program to report outages and check the status of their outage.
If severe storms hit, visit BGE’s enhanced outage map at bge.com/outagemap for information on general locations of outages in BGE’s service territory. Customers also can report or view the status of an electric outage through a mobile device at bge.com.
Higher temperatures can lead to higher energy bills, and BGE provides a variety of programs to help customers save energy and money. For example, BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program®, the company’s full suite of energy efficiency programs, helps residential, business, government and non-profit customers save energy and money. For more ways to save energy, visit www.bgesmartenergy.com.
In addition, customers can save energy and lower their bills this summer by following a few simple tips:
- Turn it off: Turn off all unnecessary lighting and devices.
- Manage your thermostat: Keep thermostats at a constant, comfortable level when at home. Raise the thermostat setting for days of extreme heat to save even more. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings when you’re away or sleeping.
- Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply closing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat in your home.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate air: For those without air conditioning, use ceiling fans or portable fans with the windows partially open to circulate fresh air into your home. For those with air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air.
- Use appliances wisely: Run appliances that produce heat (like clothes dryers, ovens and dishwashers) at night when it is cooler.