Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) is Maryland's largest deregulated electric and natural gas utility with more than 1.25 million electric and 650,000 natural gas customers. With its wide area of coverage, and its historic reputation (founded in 1816) BGE is able to provide value to its customers with low variable electric rates (compared to the national average) and smart energy plans moving forward.
- Competitive Variable Rates
- Ability to Choose Your Energy Supplier
- Easy-to-use Online Interface
Competitive Variable Rates
With BGE's rich history of excellence and their comprehensive Maryland infrastructure, they are able to provide competitive variable electric rates for their customers, averaging 8.6 cents per kWh in Winter/Spring 2016-17 and 7.8 cents per kWh Summer/Fall 2017 (compared to a nationwide average of 11.1 cents per kWh as provided by BGE).
These rates do change in six-month intervals, but future rates are provided to customers in advance of the semi-annual adjustment. A monthly customer charge of $10.45 is included in each bill, in addition to the month's energy usage.
Ability to Choose Your Energy Supplier
One of options provided by BGE is to choose your energy supplier from a list of competitive nationwide suppliers. This is a choice that BGE customers can make, if they find a better rate from a partner of BGE, and would like to switch off the BGE grid.
With the choose your energy supplier option, BGE continues to deliver the electricity and natural gas, provide billing and customer support, respond to outages and other emergencies, but the customer becomes their own smart energy manager.
This aspect does require research and comparisons to be made by the customer, and can become a bit convoluted based on monthly changes to natural gas costs. But BGE does provide an electric price comparison table as well as a list of suppliers and their contact information for energy companies that are licensed by PSC and registered to work with BGE.
By utilizing this service, customers can shop around and find the best value for their household, even if it's not directly using BGE's local power supply.
Easy-to-use Online Interface
BGE offers a wide array of online functionality for its customers, including: online bill pay, energy use information, moving/remodeling services, outage reporting/outage status, storm reports, tools for energy assessments, rebates and discounts, and smart energy resources. These services are all available on their website via the customer login portal.
- No Fixed Rates
- Fixed 12 or 24-month Terms
- Lack of Renewable Energy Options
No Fixed Rates
BGE does not provide fixed energy rates for its customers, but rather all rates are variable and adjust on a semi-annual basis (electricity) or month-to-month (natural gas). Because of this, there can be a lot of volatility in a customer's bill. This is partially mitigated by their competitive variable rates that are under BGE's stated national average.
Fixed 12- or 24-month Terms
Customers of BGE are able to choose between 12- and 24-month term contracts for their utility service. There are no month-to-month options, and cancellation fees/deposit amounts are undisclosed.
Lack of Renewable Energy Options
With more than 200 years of operating experience, Baltimore Gas & Electric brands itself as a smart energy provider. With that being said, there is a glaring lack of renewable energy options. Solar energy is mentioned briefly in their FAQ, but these service options are not immediately accessible on the website itself, and wind power has not mention at all.
The Bottom Line
Founded in 1816, Baltimore Gas & Electric has a rich history of supplying energy to the greater Baltimore area. With an updated website, intuitive online features, and competitive variable rates, it can be a great option for customers who live on its grid. Additionally, customers who are willing to take the time to research BGE's affiliated suppliers are able to contract their energy from secondary suppliers and may receive more competitive rates than BGE is offering at the time.
BGE may not be everyone though, especially for customers who are interested in utilizing renewable energy options, as these are not widely advertised or available via BGE.