editor’s note: I usually don’t repost press releases verbatim like this, but I’m intrigued by the fact that BGE awarded $2.5 million in bill credits last week — and think their provided tips are definitely helpful for reducing energy usage overall on super hot + humid Baltimore summer days! – Heather 

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) customers are seeing first-hand the benefits of smart meters with the overwhelming success of the first BGE Smart Energy Rewards Program Energy Savings Day of the summer. On Wednesday, July 23, more than 640,000 BGE residential customers with a smart meter installed in their home voluntarily participated in the Energy Savings Day and the company awarded more than $2.5 million in bill credits in response to customers’ commitment to reducing their energy use. In addition to the cost benefits of reducing energy use, BGE customers who chose to voluntarily reduce their energy use during the Energy Savings Day received an average credit of $6.80 during the event.

An Energy Savings Day typically occurs on very hot summer weekdays when homes and businesses are using higher amounts of electricity, especially air conditioning. BGE anticipates that there will be between 5-10 Energy Savings Days in a summer season. This includes Energy Savings Days that may begin without advanced notification due to unforeseen weather and grid conditions that result in an unpredicted spike in energy demand.

“BGE commends our customers on their participation in the first BGE Energy Savings Day of the summer and the great savings they were able to achieve,” said Ruth Kiselewich, director of demand side management programs, BGE. “For this first event of summer 2014, we saw nearly an 80 percent participation from eligible customers – those with smart meters. We look forward to working with our customers to sustain and increase their participation in each Energy Savings Day so they can save on their electric bills, help ease peak demand, contribute to improved reliability and help make a positive impact on the environment.”

how much can you save?

Based on results from summer 2013, participating customers saved, on average, $6-$10* per Energy Savings Day. BGE anticipates that there will be between 5-10 Energy Savings Days this summer. 

BGE customers with a smart meter installed at their home can participate in the BGE Smart Energy Rewards program by voluntarily reducing their electricity usage to earn a bill credit of $1.25 for every kilowatt-hour saved from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the designated Energy Savings Days. BGE Smart Energy Rewards eligible customers will be notified, usually the evening before an Energy Savings Day, by an automated phone call and email or customers’ may opt-in for a text notification. These notifications help customers plan ahead to ensure they have time to shift or reduce electricity use between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the Energy Savings Day. To ensure customers receive Energy Savings Day notifications, they should update their contact information on a mobile device or computer by visiting BGE.com/MyAccount. BGE will also keep customers updated on BGE.com and BGE.com/EnergySavingsDay.

how to save on BGE energy savings days

  • Raise the thermostat 3 or 4 degrees above the normal setting between 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you don’t plan to be home before 7 p.m., raise your air conditioner temperature even higher for added savings.
  • Consider turning some window units off during the Energy Savings Day, if you have them.
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water.
  • Consider going to a cool place such as a movie theater, mall or pool.
  • Relax in the basement where the temperature is typically several degrees cooler than the rest of the house.
  • Use an outdoor grill or microwave instead of the stove or oven.
  • Avoid using other heat-producing appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers.
  • Draw blinds and curtains in rooms that receive a lot of sunlight.
  • Turn ceiling fan on with blades rotating counter clockwise.