Are You Overpaying For Electricity?

0 Written by: | Thursday, Jan 12, 2017 2:04pm

BGE’s new bill format is clearer. Green circle is electricity supply and delivery charges. The blue circle is natural gas.

Research suggests that while 83 percent of us are interested in our utility bill, only 17 percent understand our  bill. The average BGE customer pays $2,100 a year for electricity and gas. It turns out many needlessly overpay for home energy for two reasons: poor electricity and natural gas supplier switching choices and inefficient leaky homes.

Do you know how much a BGE kilowatt costs these days? Have you switched your electricity and natural gas suppliers? If you have switched suppliers for electricity or gas, are you getting a good deal? If you switched, are you inadvertently paying variable energy rates? If so, that can be risky because your rates are tied to energy markets. 

Grab your BGE bill, or better yet go online, and check out the tips below to help you read your bill. You may find some cash saving opportunities. Figuring out if you’re a heavy user may inspire you to check out energy efficiency ideas.  Save money, save energy, save the planet.

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Hogan’s 2017 Environmental Agenda Is Pretty ‘Light Green’

0 Written by: | Monday, Jan 09, 2017 3:31pm

Gov. Larry Hogan delivering his State of the State address.

Last week, Governor Hogan proposed “$65 million in new, innovative and targeted investments in environmental projects.”  Hogan may have tried to get out in front with his “green messaging” because 2017 is set up to be a battle between an eco-friendly General Assembly and a pro-fracking, red-state-leaning governor.

In truth, two-thirds of the $65 million that Hogan announced was already on the books. Maryland had negotiated with Exelon during the merger deal that $44 million would be deposited into the Strategic Energy Investment Fund. The $44 million was earmarked for renewable energy projects. Hogan’s Clean Cars 2017 Electric Vehicle project and the Bay pollution trading program are current programs.

The good news is that Hogan proposes funding these programs. Money is money, and Hogan offered eco-ideas. But are they new and innovative ideas? Mostly, no. Read More →


The Cost of Switching Electricity Suppliers in Maryland: $137M

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016 1:00pm

Where are those big savings? According to E.I.A. form 861 filings, Maryland’s actual supplier rate charged is on average above utility standard rates. 

From 2013 to 2015, Maryland homeowners have spent at least an extra $137 million for their home’s electricity because they switched to an alternate supplier. In 2015, this premium cost about $140 per year per customer, an 11 percent rate increase. Ironically, consumers often switch to electricity suppliers to pay lower rates as compared to their utility’s kilowatt rate.

In Maryland, like other states, a deregulated energy market has created a perfect consumer storm for savvy energy suppliers to blow in and sell their products to a consumer base that knows little about their electricity bills and rates. The good news? This is fixable, yet recent Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) updated regulations will most likely not safeguard Maryland homeowners; many of the ongoing electric choice practices described below are still legal.

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Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Second Chance Cruise the Inner Harbor Together

0 Written by: | Thursday, Dec 15, 2016 1:47pm

A little fishy told us this was a first-time oyster sighting!

It’s pretty cool when two groups that both focus on making our planet better come together for fun and education.

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After Prison, a Career in Solar Offered a Chance to Shine

0 Written by: | Thursday, Dec 08, 2016 1:00pm

Marc Spohn with Genevieve Fenwick and her family. GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic installed 12 solar panels on Fenwick's Baltimore row home in August 2016.

Marc Spohn with Genevieve Fenwick and her family. GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic installed 12 solar panels on Fenwick’s Baltimore row home in August 2016.

How does a person who has spent 26 years in prison, lacks a high school degree, and has little job experience, become a highly-paid solar installation supervisor in three years?

Marc Spohn’s journey from prison inmate to solar supervisor highlights the opportunities and challenges that face millions of Americans in career transitions. Spohn’s story also spotlights the support groups, solar work force development programs, and just plain special people, needed to help adults transition into family-sustaining careers. With our warming climate, a growing renewable manufacturing industry can help save our planet, and based on Marc’s story, can also help save people, too.

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Maryland’s Offshore Wind Farm Moves Forward

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016 2:42pm

Maryland's offshore wind farms are planned to be 12 miles off Ocean City's shores. Unlike some oceanic wind farms, Maryland's won't be visible from beaches. Credit: NREL

Maryland’s offshore wind farm is planned to sit 12 miles off Ocean City’s shores. Maryland’s wind farm won’t be visible from the coastline. Credit: NREL

Finally some good environmental news. Maryland’s offshore wind farm is one step closer to reality.  The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) will spend the next six months analyzing two bids to build clean energy off our windy shores. If all goes smoothly, wind turbines could be spinning and cranking out electricity by 2020.

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Fracking is Set to Become a Hot Topic in Maryland Again in 2017

0 Written by: | Thursday, Nov 17, 2016 12:37pm

Natural gas heats our homes, fuels more of our electricity.

Natural gas heats our homes and fuels more of our electricity.

When your home’s heater turned on this chilly morning, it was most likely powered by natural gas that bubbled up from underground through fracking. After ten years and 137,000 wells drilled in the U.S., by May 2017, our state will be the last in the union to decide whether to frack. Fracking is important to understand because our country’s fossil fuel energy strategy rests on fracking.

Though we live three hours from Western Maryland’s potential fracking fields, you have a voice in whether our state fracks or not. During the 2017 Maryland General Assembly, your state senator and three delegates will cast your vote to either ban fracking permanently, or to allow permits in October 2017. 

Over the next few months, we’ll bring you up-to-speed with short articles that will zero-in on one fracking topic to help you make an informed decision about fracking. 
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The Holiday Turkey: Free-Range, Organic or Regular?

0 Written by: | Thursday, Nov 10, 2016 3:22pm

A turkey in a pastoral setting is just a picture, not reality.

A Heritage Turkey in a pastoral setting. Not quite today’s industrial-scale turkey farming.

Almost 70 million turkeys will be served this holiday season in the U.S. What’s the difference between an organic, Heritage, free-range and regular grocery store turkey? Two things: how the turkey was raised and what did the bird eat. There’s quite a difference between turkey types, and also quite a story behind the 110 pounds of poultry the average American consumes each year. Read More →


Baltimore County and City’s Summer Air Quality Was The Pits. Here’s Why.

0 Written by: | Thursday, Nov 03, 2016 1:29pm

A snap shot of Maryland's poor airquality days compared to average summer air temperatures. Credit: Clean Air Partners and

Baltimore-area’s poor air quality days compared to average summer air temperatures. AQI days courtesy Air temps courtesy

Summer 2016 was smokin’ hot and that didn’t bode well for Baltimore’s air quality. Summer’s hot sun bakes air pollution’s chemicals into unhealthy smog which is harmful for sensitive populations. Surprisingly, this “at risk” population is huge; 25 percent of Baltimore County and City residents suffer from asthma, COPD, heart disease or diabetes. 

Though Maryland’s Department the Environment released a wow-our-air-quality-is-great report this spring, as illustrated above, Baltimore experienced 24 summer days where our air quality didn’t meet federal Clean Air Act standards.

Baltimore metro’s air quality is a tale of temper tantrums, regulation rigamarole, and loads of unnecessary and expensive emergency room visits. Who knew that air quality is actually pretty interesting?  Read More →


Looking for a Job? D.C. Solar Job Fair Hiring On the Spot

0 Written by: | Thursday, Oct 27, 2016 3:06pm

New solar installers learning how to install solar at a GRID Alternatives job site.

New solar installers training with GRID Alternatives at a Baltimore job site.

If you know of someone looking for a job, or specifically considering a career in solar, the free Solar Job Fair happening in D.C. on November 17  is an excellent start. Even better, you don’t need prior solar experience, and employers will be interviewing and hiring on the spot. The Solar Job Fair will coincide with the big Solar Focus 2016 at the Renaissance Washington. Read More →

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