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BGE: Despite outages, expect higher Aug. bills

Thursday - 8/2/2012, 2:50pm  ET

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The derecho in late June left some without power for days. (WTOP)

WASHINGTON - One area utility says its customers should expect higher-than- expected bills in August, even if they had protracted outages.

July had 19 days with higher than 90 degree temperatures and three days over 100 degrees. June had 12 days over 90 degrees and one over 100 degrees. As a result, BGE's more than 650,000 customers should expect to shell out more than usual for their bills.

In some cases, the power required for cooling these kinds of temperatures can be twice as high than normal.

"Although electric commodity prices are down nearly 25 percent since 2009, increased energy usage during extreme weather can significantly affect customers' energy bills," says Jeannette M. Mills, BGE vice president and chief customer officer, according to a release.

"Some customers may have experienced a multi-day outage from the derecho," she says. "And while customers do not pay for energy they do not use -- such as during an extended outage -- those customers may still see a higher-than-normal bill as a result of the significant number of days in July with extreme temperatures."

Check out these examples from BGE for increasing efficiency in the home:

  • Setting air conditioner thermostats at 78 degrees or higher. Every degree above 72 degrees saves 5 to 7 percent on cooling costs.

  • Delaying the use of heat-generating appliances such as stoves, ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers until after 9 p.m. when the temperature begins to drop.

  • Taking shorter hot showers. Heating water is the second biggest energy drain in the home.

  • Having a professional inspection of central air conditioning systems to ensure optimal efficiency.

  • Sealing gaps around windows, doors and wall outlets.

  • Checking/adding insulation in attics to reach an R-30, the depth of 12 inches.

  • Scheduling a BGE Quick Home Energy Check-up to discover opportunities for making a home more energy efficient.

  • Taking advantage of BGE price mark-downs on compact fluorescent light bulbs which use approximately 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and burn cooler.

  • Using only lights that are necessary.

  • Consider unplugging computers, cable boxes and other electronics which stay on even when not in use.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)