Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — BGE’s Peak Rewards program is designed to save money for customers on the hottest days, but last year, the program caused problems.
Now, as Gigi Barnett reports, the utility plans to test the system first before summer strikes.
When Baltimore’s heat is at its hottest, BGE switches to its emergency power cycling system, which allows the utility to shut off air conditioning units for hours. But last year, when blistering temperatures topped 100 degrees, customers in the Peak Rewards program complained that they were left in the heat, sweating for more than six hours.
This year, before the heat hits the area, BGE plans to test its Peak Rewards system on separate days this month. The utility won’t say when.
“We didn’t want to specify because if we choose a date and it turns out that the weather is going to be extremely hot that day, we wouldn’t want to do those activations then,” said Linda Foy, BGE spokesperson.
The perk of Peak Rewards is that customers receive bill credits if they enroll, but after last year’s emergency shutoff, thousands of customers dropped Peak Rewards. BGE says it plans to test the system when most customers may be out.
“We wanted to stay away from the weekends and we wanted to give our customers some parameters of when they will be cycled,” Foy said. “We don’t expect our customers to feel significantly different in their homes.”
BGE says Peak Rewards customers help reduce stress on its electric system by about 500 megawatts. That’s roughly the size of a medium power plant.