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Md. To Review BGE Energy-Saving Program Complaints

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A program at BGE designed to save customers money comes under fire.  Many people across Maryland lost air conditioning for hours during the hottest day ever recorded in Baltimore.

Adam May takes a closer look at Peak Rewards.

BGE is considering some major changes to their Peak Rewards program after tens of thousands of customers complained during the weekend heat wave.

When the temperatures in Baltimore hit 108 Friday, flowers weren’t the only thing that wilted.

“Look at my face.  I am sweating to death,” said Bobbie McKinney.

McKinney enrolled in BGE’s Peak Rewards program, so her air conditioning was shut off for more than six hours.

“Certainly, we are looking at how this program worked Friday [and] what we might want to do better,” said Linda Foy, BGE.

Under Peak Rewards, customers get up to $200 if they agree to power cycling.  That means they can shut off air conditioning units during emergency events.  Friday was the first time they’ve done it since the program started.

Now the state’s utility watchdog is looking into BGE’s actions.  The chairman of the Public Service Commission says they will address complaints, but it’s premature to say if the program worked as planned.

“We absolutely know that we need to do a better job of making sure our customers know what they signed up for,” Foy said.

About 350,000 customers are enrolled in Peak Rewards and 2,500 of them have withdrawn since Friday.  Another 1,300 have made changes.

McKinney is done.

“I tell you one thing, this box is coming out,” she said.

Not all the Peak Rewards customers were unhappy.  BGE supplied emails from a few customers thanking them for turning off their air conditioners to avoid a total brown-out.

BGE is planning to mail Peak Rewards customers a reminder about how the program works.

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