- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
AMI is an updated electric system, also known as “smart grid.” An electric grid is the system of meters, poles, and wires that delivers electricity to you. “Smart grid” is the term used to describe a modernization of these systems by adding two-way communications and more sensors to manage this system more efficiently.
The new metering system that is part of smart grid will provide significantly more information about customers’ energy consumption, which will allow utilities to offer new pricing programs, and energy conservation tips and other services to help customers reduce energy use and lower bills.
To learn more about smart grid and smart meters at BGE, visit:
- BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®
Consists of a variety of initiatives, services and incentives offered by BGE designed to help you conserve energy, save money and protect the environment.
The Compressor is the part of an air conditioning system that pumps the refrigerant that transfers the heat and humidity from inside your home to the outside. It is makes the cool air.
Cycling refers to the amount of time each hour that the electricity to air conditioning (A/C) compressor or electric hot water heater is adjusted during a PeakRewardsSM event.
- Cycling Events
There are two types of events where Cycling can occur:
During an emergency event, regional demand for electricity is close to surpassing regional supply, and BGE is required by PJM to activate its’ PeakRewards program. This type of event is usually called to avoid potential brownouts and rolling blackouts area-wide. You cannot change your cycling level, override your participation, or exit the program during an emergency event or during the transition out of an emergency event. A/C program participants will be cycled up to their chosen cycling level – 50%, 75% or 100%, and Electric Water Heater program participants will be cycled at 100%.
Typically, cycling occurs Monday-Friday. The actual start time, end time, duration and day of the week of each cycling event varies. The length of a cycling event will depend on the type of event (emergency or non-emergency) and the need for BGE to reduce electric demand. It generally begins between 12 p.m. and 3.p.m, and could last up to 7 hours or longer if system reliability requires a longer transition to normal operations. BGE is unable to predict the number of times it will cycle air conditioners, electric heat pumps and electric water heaters each year, nor maximum duration. Events will typically occur during the summer months of June through September but can happen during other months. If an emergency event is called, generally it will last until the situation is averted, which may be more hours than non-emergency events. Additionally, even after the emergency event ends, there will be a transition period until full operation of your unit is restored during which cycling changes and overrides will be prohibited.
On occasion, BGE may activate its PeakRewards program when regional demand is not very close to surpassing regional supply, but the wholesale price of electricity is very high. These events may occur on a localized level restricted to certain areas within the BGE territory or they may occur across the entire BGE territory. Activating the PeakRewards program during these non-emergency events puts downward pressure on energy prices and increases the reliability of the distribution system. You may choose to override participation during this type of event up to two times per summer. For non-emergency events, A/C Program participants will be cycled up to 50% and Electric Water Heater program participants will be cycled at 100%.
- Cycling Levels
For A/C program participants, your cycling level directly relates to the length of time cooling from your air conditioner will be interrupted during Emergency Events and the credits you receive for participating in the program. You can request to change your cycling level at any time and this change will typically take effect in 24-48 hours but changes may take up to five business days in certain circumstances.
*A customer moving into a home with an existing PeakRewards device will receive ongoing bill credits for their participation in the program. As a “move-in” customer, you are currently enrolled at the 50% cycling level, the lowest level of credits and cycling. However, “move-in” customers are not eligible to receive the first-year bonus credits since the bonus is intended for the initial enrollment and installation of a device at a customer’s home.
** Credits are subject to change in future years. Terms and Conditions.
Electric Water Heater program participants will be cycled at 100%, regardless of event type (emergency or non-emergency).
**A customer moving into a home with an existing PeakRewards device will receive ongoing bill credits, if they continue to participate in the program, but will not receive the first-year matching bonus. The first-year matching bonus credits are only intended for the initial customer enrollment and device installation.
Credits are subject to change in future years. Terms and Conditions.
- Demand Response
Demand response programs are designed to manage customer use of electricity in response to periods of very high electricity demand and/or pricing. Having customers reduce their energy use at critical times or in response to market prices, such as with PeakRewards, benefits you, the community, and the environment. By effectively managing electricity supply, you are helping to avoid building new power plants to meet the growing demand, and keeping the price of electricity lower than it otherwise would be.
- Demand Side Management (DSM)
All-inclusive umbrella term for the set of programs and activities of electric utility companies that are developed to encourage customers to modify their level and pattern of electricity usage. DSM includes both Demand Response and Energy Efficiency & Conservation programs. See Demand Response.
- Distribution System Operators (DSO)
Responsible for managing the local distribution of electricity and for initiating and overseeing localized Cycling Events.
- Electric Delivery Infrastructure
- Consists of power generation plants and delivery systems including transmission and distribution lines. Visit the following link to view an electricity delivery diagram:
- Load Reduction
The amount of electric demand reduced during periods of high usage.
- MD Public Service Commission (PSC)
An independent administrative agency within the Executive Branch of State government that regulates public utilities' services and programs.
- Meter Data Management System (MDMS)
Refers to a common meter data repository that centrally stores, secures and validates all customer metering data. Customer meter data is usage data and other associated data recorded by the meter.
- Outdoor Switch
A “Smart Technology” device that receives a Radio Signal to begin the Cycling process, which turns the air conditioning Compressor off and on for short periods of time, typically in the summer when electricity demand is at its peak. It is mounted near your outdoor air conditioning unit, typically on your house. If you choose an Outdoor Switch during enrollment, it can be professionally installed at your home without scheduling.
A customer may override two non-emergency events per summer; however, a customer may not override an emergency event or the transition out of an emergency event. Additionally, customers may not change cycling levels, nor exit the program during an emergency event and the transition out of this event. When the emergency event ends, BGE will transition all air conditioning program customers to a lower cycling level for a brief period of time to avoid large and sudden increases in electric demand which may cause reliability problems. Also, if you scheduled an override and subsequently an emergency event is called on the day you scheduled your override, the override will be cancelled. An Override can be scheduled in advance or at the beginning of a Non-Emergency Event by calling the PeakRewards customer hotline at: 1.888.309.PEAK (7325) or via the web. Click here to learn more about Online Access.
- Peak Electric Demand
Electricity usage fluctuates constantly due to weather conditions, commercial and industrial business hours and residential electricity usage. During the summer months, demand is usually greater as electricity is used to cool homes and businesses, especially during weekday afternoons. “Peak electric demand” refers to the point of highest electricity use over a certain period of time. Throughout the day, BGE continually monitors electricity demand to minimize cost and ensure reliable delivery.
A voluntary BGE Demand Response program, which offers qualified residential customers with central air conditioning or electric heat pumps the following benefits:
- Up to $200 in BGE summer bill credits
- Your choice of a programmable thermostat or outdoor air conditioner switch, professionally installed at your home at no out-of-pocket expense (thermostat and installation valued at $290)
- Participation in the program at a cycling level that suits your lifestyle
- Control of your cooling and heating settings– even over the Internet*
- Decrease your carbon footprint by helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the hottest days
Participation in PeakRewards is one way we can work together to help protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint by:
- Reducing the need for additional power generation plants.
- Reducing the emissions from current and future power plants.
- Reducing the need for additional electric delivery infrastructure such as electric transmission and distribution lines.
- Easing the burden on Maryland's electricity delivery system as our state's electricity demands continue to grow.
- Supporting the state's EmPOWER Maryland goals.
* In order to use PeakRewards Online Access, you must be a BGE residential customer and enrolled in PeakRewards
- PeakRewards Thermostat
PeakRewards Thermostat: A "Smart Technology" device, which can save you money and help keep your home comfortable. The programmable thermostat has features which allow you to automatically adjust your temperature settings while you are asleep or away, saving you up to 15%* on heating and cooling costs year-round. It also has a radio controlled device that enables BGE to Cycle your air conditioning Compressor off and on for short periods of time, typically in the summer when electricity demand is at its peak. Remote programming is now available which will allow you to adjust your Programmable thermostat settings while you are away from your home.
* Savings vary and 15% is based on an average of $180 savings per year.
A Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJM's obligation as a federally regulated RTO means that it acts independently and impartially in monitoring reliability and managing the regional transmission system and the wholesale electricity market.
- Radio Signal
Refers to the broadcasting communication sent from BGE to the Outdoor Switch or Programmable Thermostat, which periodically interrupts the flow of electricity to the Compressor on your air conditioner or heat pump for a period of time during a PeakRewards Cycling Event.
- Regional Power Grids
The Electric Delivery Infrastructure consisting of a network of lines, which supply the electric current coming into your home or business from the generation plants. It is designed to maintain a dynamic balance between the consumer demand for electricity and the amount being supplied by generators.
The ability of a system to perform its required functions under certain conditions for a specified period of time. Power Reliability can be defined by the ability to deliver electricity to customers within accepted standards and in the amount desired avoiding blackouts or brownouts.
- Remote Programming
You can update your PeakRewards program preferences, schedule the override of a Non-Emergency Cycling Event and change thermostat settings via PeakRewards Online Access. To access PeakRewards Online Access, simply log onto bge.com/myaccount.
During an emergency event, and the remainder of the day when this event is called, the following tools will be temporarily unavailable via PeakRewards Online Access:
- The “Override” link will be removed
- The “Set Thermostat Schedules” feature will be disabled
- The “Temporarily Adjust Settings” feature will be disabled
- Smart Technology
Technologically advanced load control devices with enhanced communication, which BGE can use during a Cycling Event.