Baltimore Gas and Electric is reviewing its PeakRewards procedures after the emergency energy reduction plan was put into effect Friday.
The activation of the program Friday reduced peak energy demand by more than 600 megawatts – the equivalent of a medium-sized power plant, according to BGE.
Customers that volunteer for the program receive credits of up to $200 in the first year and $100 in subsequent years. Participants allow BGE to cycle compressors on their air conditioning or heat pumps during times of high demand via a smart switch or smart thermostat. The program is designed to lower electricity costs and defer the need for new power plants.
On Friday, the emergency activation was the first since 2007 and helped avoid possible brownouts and rolling blackouts that extreme heat can cause for all customers, according to BGE.
Following an emergency event, cycling continues at 50 percent for gradual restoration, but on Friday, after all cycling ended, full restoration of air conditioning to some volunteers didn’t happen for another hour or more, according to BGE.
“BGE certainly recognizes the frustration experienced by some customers during this event and is committed to reviewing the processes related to this voluntary program,” BGE Chief Customer Officer Jeannette M. Mills said. “While we can appreciate the challenges associated with not having central air conditioning for an extended period of time on an extremely hot day, the PeakRewards program worked exactly as designed by averting far more serious consequences ... However, BGE will work to identify potential areas of improvement to ensure the program continues to successfully reduce peak electric demand and meet our customers’ expectations.”
BGE is investigating why full restoration of air conditioning took longer than usual. Those who experienced the problem should contact a service technician.