BALTIMORE -- BGE reminds customers there are many payment and billing options and energy assistance programs available for those having difficulty keeping their accounts up to date. BGE recognizes the financial challenges some customers are facing as a result of the pandemic and we will continue our practice of working with each customer to ensure the continuation of their gas and electric services. Service terminations, which were suspended in March, are always a last resort and many times, can be avoided, if customers contact us before their accounts are in arrears to discuss options. Following guidance from the Maryland Public Service Commission, BGE has expanded billing and payment options to include:
Elimination of down payment/security deposit requirements to secure a payment arrangement
Extension of payment periods for balances for a minimum of 12 months for residential customers or 24 months for customers receiving energy assistance from the state's Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP)
BGE will also connect customers to agency energy assistance funds to which BGE has increased contributions.
The most important step that residential customers who are not current on their BGE bill can take is to contact BGE at 1.800.685.0123 and BGE.com/assistance as soon as possible. Customers should never wait until they are in crisis to contact us. The time is now.
BGE customers can apply for energy assistance through the Maryland Department of Human Services, by contacting their Local Energy Assistance Office, or by calling the Office of Home Energy Programs at 1-800-332-6347. BGE customers who have completed the energy assistance process with the State can also apply for further assistance with the Fuel Fund of Maryland.
As part of our comprehensive response to the pandemic, BGE has made the following contributions of shareholder dollars to support our customers through this crisis:
$1.5 million to the Fuel Fund of Maryland to assist limited income residential customers with their bills. This is in addition to approximately $2 million in customer funds that are currently directed by BGE for customer assistance through the Fuel Fund.
$1 million in funding in 2020 to county-administered business pandemic relief funds in central Maryland to assist small businesses that have been challenged by the economic hardships of the pandemic. Beginning in 2021, BGE will establish a small business relief grant program for businesses with less than 25 employees to receive grants up to $20,000 each to help cover operating expenses.
All charitable contributions by BGE shareholders are in addition to the more than $1 million already provided in March and April of this year by BGE, Constellation and Exelon to benefit relief organizations including United Way of Central Maryland, Baltimore Community Foundation and the Maryland Food Bank.
Avoid Potential Scams Threatening Disconnection
All customers should be wary of potential scams threatening disconnection. It is not uncommon for scammers to call, text, or email utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. As a reminder:
Utility representatives will never ask or require a customer with a past due balance to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
Customers can make payments to BGE online, by phone, automatic bank withdrawal, mail or in person.
Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple shut off notifications - never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
If a customer ever questions the legitimacy of the call, hang up and call BGE at 800-685-0123.
BGE already has your account information and past bills. Do not give this information out.
Any customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call BGE immediately at 800-685-0123 to report the situation. Also, head to bgenow.com for more information on utility scammers and third party suppliers.
BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility and headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility. The company's approximately 3,200 employees are committed to safe and reliable energy delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and more than 680,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. In the J.D. Power 2017, 2018, and 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Studies SM BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Electric Service in the East among Large Utilities. In the J.D. Power 2018 and 2019 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Studies SM BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Natural Gas Service among utilities in the East Region. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Connect with BGE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and engage with the latest BGE stories on bgenow.com.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (or "BGE") received the highest score in the East Region of the 2019 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study and the East Large Segment of the 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study of gas and electric utility customer satisfaction among business customers. Visit jdpower.com/awards.