Customers Experience Historically Low Power Outages As BGE Completes Cycle Of Tree Trimming Under Maryland Reliability Standard

Customers in Baltimore Gas and Electric Company's (BGE) service area experienced close to 35 percent fewer outages during the last four years compared to the previous four years. In 2012, new electric reliability standards were adopted by the Maryland Public Service Commission in Rulemaking 43 (RM43). BGE developed enhanced procedures for managing vegetation near power lines to improve reliability that included removing branches that overhang power lines and other electric equipment.

"By reducing interference from trees at the same time we have been investing heavily in upgrading electric equipment, our customers have been experiencing the lowest numbers of power outages in BGE's history over the last several years," said Derrick Dickens, vice president of Technical Services for BGE. "At the same time, we are working with our customers and community partners to expand the tree canopy away from power lines, so we all get the environmental and energy-saving benefits of trees. That is smart energy."

In 2015, the frequency of electric service interruptions, including those caused by weather, was BGE's lowest on record. BGE is also reducing the amount of time it takes to restore power to customers who do experience outages. BGE has reduced the average length of outages by 47 minutes since 2012, excluding significant weather events. BGE also ranked in the top 25 percent of the most reliable electric utilities nationwide in 2015.

In 2016, BGE expects to invest nearly $27 million on planned vegetation management, completing the first cycle of trimming under the RM43 standards. The company will continue to maintain vegetation along more than 10,500 miles of overhead lines to the same standards on a four year cycle. More than 60 percent of BGE's electric distribution lines are located underground and protected from overhead tree interference.

BGE has donated more than $600,000 to the Arbor Day Foundation since 2013 to help improve the area's tree canopy. More than 25,000 free trees have been donated directly to customers through the Energy Saving Trees Program. BGE has also donated large trees to the City of Annapolis, Baltimore City and Baltimore County to help enhance their green spaces.

BGE's vegetation management is performed by contractors under the supervision of Maryland Licensed Tree Experts and are trained to safely remove trees and branches that would interfere with power lines, while minimizing impacts to tree health. Additionally, BGE has a professional staff of Maryland Licensed Foresters and Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture that monitor the work of the contractors.

BGE , founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility, is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility. Headquartered in Baltimore, BGE delivers power to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company's approximately 3,200 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter , YouTube and Flickr .

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