BALTIMORE, MD—On Wednesday, BGE announced that it has been directed by PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, to activate a PeakRewards Emergency Cycling Event.
BGE activates its PeakRewards program when the demand for electricity is close to surpassing the supply and there is an immediate need to reduce demand to prevent potential brownouts and blackouts area-wide.
During a PeakRewards emergency cycling event, the central air conditioner of all PeakRewards Air Conditioning program participants will be cycled up to their chosen participation level. For customers who have chosen to participate at the 50 percent level, their air conditioner will be off for half the time they would normally run. For participants at the 75 percent level, their air conditioner will be off for three-quarters the time they would normally run. Customers who participate at the 100 percent level will have no air conditioning for the duration of the emergency cycling event, meaning no cool air will be produced. PeakRewards Electric Water Heater program participants will also experience a 100 percent cycling of their electric water heaters, meaning their water will not be heated until the event ends. During a cycling event, the word “SAVINGS” should appear on Honeywell Utility Pro thermostats, a leaf icon will appear on ecobee3 lite thermostats and the ecobee app, or a red light will illuminate on the PeakRewards switch on or near the outdoor central air conditioning unit or electric water heater to indicate a cycling event is occurring.
Due to the need to reduce peak electric demand throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, BGE officials say they cannot predict the duration of this emergency event, however, it could last up to six hours or longer if system reliability requires a longer transition to normal operations.
As the emergency event ends, BGE will transition all PeakRewards Air Conditioning program participants to a lower cycling level for a short period of time to maintain system reliability. Program participants may not opt out of an emergency event or the transition out of an emergency event. However, customers who have a medical or health condition or require assistance should call the PeakRewards customer hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325). Customers can also find more information at the Peak Rewards Event page.