BALTIMORE, Md. - You might think a big power company like BGE would be counting upon the heat wave to rack up some big profits, but keeping the Northeast power grid up and reducing outages better serves its bottom line.
"There can be power outages associated with increased usage," said BGE's Linda Foy, who advises the company's 1.2 million customers here in Central Maryland on the steps you can take to help balance the system and pay a little less in the process, "Your cooling is probably during the summer months half of your usage bill so if you can take steps in other areas like not using your appliances that generate a lot of heat until after 9 o'clock when the temperature goes down and take other actions, you can at least minimize the impact of that increased usage caused by the extreme weather."
To further cut back on your usage, you can close the curtains and blinds in your home and try not to set your thermostat below 78 degrees.
Those appliances Foy referred to (ovens, stoves and driers) should only be used in the early morning or late at night and you should turn off any appliances you don't absolutely need.
To earn credits towards your bill in the summer time, you can also enroll in the company's Peak Rewards program, giving the company control over your air conditioning compressor to cut it on and off during hours of peak demand.
"Most of our customers in some of the surveys that we've done responded that they did not notice a significant change in the comfort of their homes when the program was activated," said Foy, "You do have up to two times to opt out of the program per season, so if you're having a party and you're going to have a lot of people over and you don't want that program activated, you can opt out."
The Peak Rewards program gives you up to $200 in bill credits the first year and $100 each year after that.