In the US, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) reported that its residential customer bills were reduced by 25% this winter compared to winter bills two years ago.The utility says that the 25% reduction translates to an average customer savings of $72 per month during the past winter. According to a release, customers also used less electricity through February due to mild weather, participation in energy efficiency programmes and managing their energy use with real-time information provided by smart meters.
The release adds that lower commodity prices, which are set by global markets, are also a significant factor. In addition to the savings created by efficiency and lower commodity costs, beginning this month BGE residential electric customers’ bills also will be additionally reduced by an average of $5.47 with BGE’s retirement of long-term bonds used to fund past power purchase costs. The average BGE residential customer’s total monthly bill remains lower than 2008 levels.
Rob Biagiotti, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE, said: “Partnering with our customers so they can manage their monthly usage to have greater control of the cost of their electric service is a win-win. Lower usage contributes to lower bills and helps us meet our efficiency goals while also benefiting the environment. [Customer behaviour: BGE says EE program is working (by 1.8bn kWH a year)]
“At the same time, we are also investing more than ever in equipment upgrades and maintenance to better serve our customers with quality electric power and safe, reliable natural gas. This has resulted in significant improvements in reliability for our customers.”
Electric service interruptions
BGE claims that in 2016, the average number of electric service interruptions was the fourth lowest rate in BGE’s history.
"When customers did experience an outage, BGE restored power faster than ever before. The average length of a service interruption has been reduced by 49 minutes
over the last five years," says the utility.
It adds that customers are able to maximise their savings opportunities through BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Programme at BGEsmartenergy.com which offers rebates on efficiency measures and information on ways to reduce energy use. Rebates and discounts on energy-saving products such as appliances, HVAC systems and LED lightbulbs are available through the programme.
Since its launch in 2009, customers have purchased more than 25 million energy-saving LED and CFL light bulbs, saving nearly $40 million at pay points with instant discounts and "enough electricity to light more than 117,000 homes for a year."
BGE customers have also scheduled more than 200,000 Quick Home Energy Check-ups, which help identify solutions to save energy and money. Through the Check-ups, customers have saved nearly 110,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. The BGE Smart Energy Savers Programme supports EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act.
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