In cooperation with BGE, the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) encourages residents to review their readiness to handle winter energy costs and to maintain home heating systems.

Each year in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control estimates, excessive cold kills more than 1,300 people; this figure is likely higher than that, experts say. Recognizing that heating costs pose a challenge for many, HSEM is sharing the following information from BGE.

Dealing With Heating Expenses

During the colder months, heating systems typically account for more than 40 percent of customers’ energy bills because extreme weather can triggers significant increases in energy use at home. BGE.COM provides resources for households that face challenges meeting energy costs: 

  • BGE's 2019-2020 Community Resource Guide.  This is a guide to federal, state and local resources, as well as programs from BGE and non-profit providers, targeted to households with trouble managing their heating bills. A Spanish language version is available. 

  • The BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®  lists energy efficiency and conservation programs available to customers, including appliance rebates, lighting discounts, and free Quick Home Energy Check-Ups.

Energy Saving and Safety Steps

HSEM encourages energy saving steps, including:

  • Maintain heating systems. Most cold weather energy expenses are related to heating your home. Schedule service for your heating system now to find out what maintenance is required to keep your system operating efficiently.
     
  •  Lower Water Heating Costs. Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home. For savings, turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).
     
  •  Adjust the Temperature. When you are at home and awake, set your thermostat as low as comfortable for you. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours; this should save around 10 per cent a year on heating bills. Use a programmable thermostat for easy adjustments. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
  • Keep Natural Gas Appliance Vents Clear. Know where your natural gas appliances vent to the exterior and ensure the vents are clear.  Some high-efficiency gas appliances, such as water heaters and furnaces, vent along the foundation of buildings. If these vents become blocked by snow or ice, exhaust may back up resulting in deadly carbon monoxide buildup or a release of natural gas.