1. My air conditioner or electric heat pump was cycled and now, that the event is over, it’s taking a while for my home to cool down again. Is this normal?
  2. I signed up to receive notifications, why does it take so long to receive them?
  3. What is "peak electric demand?"
  4. What is cycling?
  5. What does "cycling level" mean?
  6. How can I tell if I’m cycling?
  7. What can I do if I get uncomfortable during an event?
  8. I am an A/C program participant. How long will it take for me to see my requested cycling level change online?
  9. Why am I not able to use my override during an emergency event?
  10. How will cycling affect the temperature in my home?
  11. Is there a limit to the number of hours I can be cycled?
  12. Will my BGE bill be higher because my A/C or electric hot water heater had to work hard after a PeakRewards cycling event?
  13. How soon will my unit return to normal operation after an override or cycling event ends?
  14. I am an A/C program participant. I believe I was supposed to be cycled at 50% but my unit did not appear to turn on during the event. Why was I cycled at a different level?
  15. Will I receive any notification prior to a cycling event?
  16. What is a preseason cycling event?
  17. When do preseason cycling events occur?
  18. Can I override my participation in a preseason cycling event?
  19. How often does cycling occur and how long will it last?
1. My air conditioner or electric heat pump was cycled and now, that the event is over, it’s taking a while for my home to cool down again. Is this normal?

Once a cycling event has fully ended, including the transition out of an event, your air conditioner or heat pump should resume normal operation within 30 minutes. However, the amount of time it takes for your home to return to normal temperature depends on many variables, including the outdoor temperature, how well your home is insulated, the condition of your air conditioner or heat pump, and the duration of the PeakRewards cycling event. If a cycling event has ended and the word “SAVINGS” still appears on your thermostat screen, or if there is a red light on your outdoor air conditioning switch, you should call the PeakRewards hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325) for assistance. Otherwise, if you believe your unit is not operating effectively, please contact your HVAC contractor.

Key causes of ineffective cooling is the system overheating due to a dirty air filter or clogged drain lines, or insufficient refrigerant, both of which can be avoided with routine system maintenance.

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2. I signed up to receive notifications, why does it take so long to receive them?

Some email providers use a practice called rate limiting to control the traffic on their mail servers which helps ensure emails are delivered but this practice may cause a lag in message delivery time. Rate limits are set by your email provider and it is recommended you contact them directly if you are not receiving emails promptly.

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3. What is "peak electric demand?"

Electricity usage fluctuates constantly due to weather conditions, commercial and industrial business hours and residential electricity usage. During the summer months, demand is usually greater as electricity is used to cool homes and businesses, especially during weekday afternoons. “Peak electric demand” refers to the point of highest electricity use over a certain period of time. Throughout the day, BGE continually monitors electricity demand to minimize cost and ensure reliable delivery.

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4. What is cycling?

During periods of high electricity use in the Mid-Atlantic region, a radio signal may be sent to the programmable thermostat, outdoor A/C switch or electric water heater switch to interrupt the flow of electricity to your unit for a period of time each hour. This is called cycling. This allows BGE to help maintain reliable service while keeping down the overall cost of electricity for everyone.

Summer cycling events for Air Conditioning and Electric Water Heater will typically occur during the months of June through September but events can happen during other months throughout the year. Summer cycling generally begins between 12 pm and 3 pm and could last 7 hours or longer if system reliability requires a longer transition to normal operations. Winter cycling events for Electric Water Heater will typically occur during the months of November through February but events can happen during other months throughout the year. Winter cycling generally occurs between 6 am and 9 am and 6 pm and 9 pm.

Cycling typically occurs Monday-Friday but the actual start time, end time, duration and day of the week of each cycling event varies. The length of a cycling event will depend on the need for BGE to reduce electric demand.

BGE is unable to predict the number of times it will cycle air conditioners or electric heat pumps each year, nor maximum duration. If an emergency event is called, generally it will last until the situation is averted. Additionally, even after the emergency event ends, there will be a transition period until full operation of your unit is restored. Please make sure that your cycling level still fits the needs of your family in advance of cycling season.

You cannot change your cycling or exit the program during an emergency event or during the transition out of an emergency event. You will be cycled up to your chosen cycling level — 50%, 75% or 100%.

Electric Water Heater program participants will be cycled at 100%. You cannot change your cycling level or exit the program during an emergency event.

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5. What does "cycling level" mean?

Cycling level is the key component of the PeakRewards program. A/C participants can choose from three different program options, which represent various cycling levels during emergency events. If you have health concerns, are elderly, have pets or children in the home that may be affected by increased temperatures due to a cycling event, we suggest that you select the 50% cycling level or call the PeakRewards customer hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325) to discuss what option may be best for you:

A/C Overview Chart

*A customer moving into a home with an existing PeakRewards device will receive ongoing bill credits for their participation in the program. As a “move-in” customer, you are currently enrolled at the 50% cycling level, the lowest level of credits and cycling. However, “move-in” customers are not eligible to receive the first-year bonus credits since the bonus is intended for the initial enrollment and installation of a device at a customer’s home. Credits are subject to change in future years. Terms and Conditions.

The temperature change in your home during a cycling event will vary based on factors including: the outdoor temperature, how well your home is insulated, duration of the cycling event, air conditioning unit size, cycling level and other variables. Actual temperature changes during cycling may vary.

Note:If you think a cycling event is occurring, you may confirm the type of event by checking online via Online Access, looking for the word “SAVINGS” on a PeakRewards thermostat or a red light on the switch, or by calling the PeakRewards customer hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325). The PeakRewards customer hotline is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday–Friday.

Electric Water Heater program participants will be cycled at 100%.

**A customer moving into a home with an existing PeakRewards device will receive ongoing bill credits, if they continue to participate in the program, but will not receive the first-year matching bonus. The first-year matching bonus credits are only intended for the initial customer enrollment and device installation.

Credits are subject to change in future years. Terms and Conditions.

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6. How can I tell if I’m cycling?

There are several ways to know if a cycling event is taking place. A/C program participants may look for the word “SAVINGS” at the top of their programmable thermostat screen or may look for a red light on their outdoor switch. Likewise, Electric Water Heater program participants may also look for a red light on the front of their electric water heater switch.

Additionally, if you sign up for event notifications, you will receive an email or text at the start and end of every PeakRewards cycling event.

We have established an Event Central website: bgesavings.com/PeakRewardsEvent that alerts participants when cycling events occur, includes details about cycling, and offers helpful tips to use during A/C and electric water heater cycling events.

You may also sign up for Online Access to view your cycling status online. Cycling status messages such as: “You have not been cycled today”, “Currently cycling”, or “You have been cycled today” will be displayed on the welcome page.

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7. What can I do if I get uncomfortable during an event?

A/C participants may choose not to be cycled during Energy Savings Days from June through September. These are called overrides, and they may be scheduled by calling the PeakRewards customer hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325) or via PeakRewards Online Access or PeakRewards Mobile. Participants may change their cycling level or cancel their participation in the program at any time, except during emergency cycling events. Requested changes typically take within 48 hours.

PeakRewards Air Conditioning participants may override up to two Energy Savings Days; however, a customer may not override an emergency event or the transition out of an emergency event. Additionally, customers may not change cycling levels, nor exit the program during an emergency event, a preseason cycling event, or the transition out of these events. Also, if you scheduled an override and subsequently an emergency event is called on the day you scheduled your override, the override will be canceled. When the emergency event ends, BGE will transition all air conditioning program customers to a lower cycling level for a brief period of time to avoid sudden increases in electric demand which may cause reliability problems.

During emergency and preseason events, and the remainder of the event day when these events are called, the following Online Access tools will be temporarily unavailable:

  • The “Override” link
  • The “Set Thermostat Schedules” feature
  • The “Temporarily Adjust Settings” feature

Please refer to the following “Tips to Stay Comfortable” for consideration during an emergency event:

Tips to stay comfortable during an event

During Electric Water Heater events:

  • Tip 1 Avoid laundry loads that require hot water
  • Tip 2 Skip long showers and baths that require hot water
  • Tip 3 Avoid running the dishwasher

During Air Conditioning events:

  • Tip 1 Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
  • Tip 2 Consider going to a cool place such as a movie theater, mall or pool
  • Tip 3 Relax in the basement where the temperature is typically several degrees cooler than the rest of the house
  • Tip 4 Use an outdoor grill or microwave instead of the stove or oven
  • Tip 5 Avoid using other heat-producing appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers
  • Tip 6 Draw blinds and curtains in rooms that receive a lot of sunlight
  • Tip 7 Turn ceiling fan on with blades rotating counter clockwise

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8. I am an A/C program participant. How long will it take for me to see my requested cycling level change online?

You should typically be able to view your cycling level change on your PeakRewards Online Access account within 24–48 hours, but changes may take up to five business days in certain circumstances

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9. Why am I not able to use my override during an emergency event?

During an emergency event, overrides are not permitted due to system reliability concerns and customers are cycled up to their chosen cycling levels. Under emergency conditions, BGE is directed by the regional grid manager, PJM Interconnection, to activate the PeakRewards program due to concerns that the demand for energy may exceed the supply. PeakRewards customers are not able to override since, under emergency conditions, there is an extreme need for lowering electricity demand. Scheduled overrides and overrides requested the day of an emergency event will not be implemented. In a critical situation, a customer representative can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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10. How will cycling affect the temperature in my home?

The temperature change in your home during a cycling event will vary based on factors including: the outdoor temperature, how well your home is insulated, duration of the cycling event, cycling level and other variables. Please note, extreme temperatures outside can affect the duration of an event, which may also affect the temperature inside your home.

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11. Is there a limit to the number of hours I can be cycled?

No, there is no limit to the number of hours you can be cycled. The length of a cycling event will depend on the need for BGE to reduce peak electric demand. BGE is unable to predict the number of times it will cycle air conditioners or electric heat pumps each year, nor maximum duration. Cycling typically occurs Monday-Friday between the hours of 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please note, cycling events may be activated outside of the Monday-Friday, 12 p.m.-7 p.m. timeframe. Also, the actual start time, end time, and duration of each cycling event will vary.

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12. Will my BGE bill be higher because my A/C or electric hot water heater had to work hard after a PeakRewards cycling event?

No. Data gathered during the PeakRewards pilot shows that A/C customers use between 25% and 50% less energy than they would have without the event. Significantly less energy is used when your A/C is being cycled. After a cycling event, while your A/C may be on more during the cool down period than it would typically be at that time, it actually is on less than it would have been absent the event. It also helps that the recovery period is typically in a cooler part of the day.

Once the cycling period is completed, the water heater will resume normal operation. Note that the water heater should retain its capacity of hot water for a period of time but recovery of hot water will not be possible during a cycling event. No water is being heated during the event.

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13. How soon will my unit return to normal operation after an override or cycling event ends?

Normal unit operation should resume within 30 minutes after the completion of a cycling event.

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14. I am an A/C program participant. I believe I was supposed to be cycled at 50% but my unit did not appear to turn on during the event. Why was I cycled at a different level?

Customers who believe they may have been cycled at the wrong cycling level should call the PeakRewards hotline at 1.888.309.PEAK (7325) so that the cycling level can be verified and, if needed, a PeakRewards technician can perform an inspection of the thermostat or switch. The PeakRewards customer hotline is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday–Friday.

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15. Will I receive any notification prior to a cycling event?

Customers could determine an event has been activated by viewing the word “SAVINGS” on their thermostat or by the red light on their outdoor or electric water heater switch. Customers could also log onto their PeakRewards Online Access account to view their cycling status. You can sign up for cycling event notifications and receive emails or texts at the start and conclusion of every cycling event. To sign up, call 1.888.309.PEAK (7325) or visit bgesavings.com/PeakNotifications.

Note: standard data charges will apply for text messaging.

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16. What is a preseason cycling event?

BGE schedules preseason cycling events to test system operations and customer communications ahead of the summer and winter cycling seasons.

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17. When do preseason cycling events occur?

Preseason cycling events are scheduled before the start of each cycling season: spring for air conditioning and electric water heater summer cycling and in the fall for electric water heater winter cycling. To limit potential customer inconvenience, preseason cycling events are planned for midday on weekdays.

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18. Can I override my participation in a preseason cycling event?

No. You may not override your participation during the preseason cycling events and the transition out of this event. Also, during preseason events, and the remainder of the day when these events are called, the following tools will be temporarily unavailable via PeakRewards Online Access:

  • The “Override” link will be removed
  • The “Set Thermostat Schedules”
  • The “Temporarily Adjust Settings”

Customers enrolled in PeakRewards are subject to the Terms and Conditions for the PeakRewards program. The program Terms and Conditions are available online at: bgesavings.com/programresources.

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19. How often does cycling occur and how long will it last?

Summer Air Conditioning and Electric Water Heater cycling events will typically occur during the summer months of June through September and Winter Electric Water Heater cycling events will typically occur during the winter months of November through February. However, events can happen during other months throughout the year. Cycling typically occurs Monday-Friday but the actual start time, end time, duration and day of the week of each cycling event varies. The length of a cycling event will depend on the need for BGE to reduce electric demand. Summer events generally begin between 12 pm and 3 pm and could last 10 hours or longer if system reliability requires a longer transition to normal operations. Winter events generally begin between 6 am and 9 am and 6 pm and 9 pm.

BGE is unable to predict the number of times it will cycle air conditioners or electric heat pumps each year, nor maximum duration. If an emergency event is called, generally it will last until the situation is averted. Additionally, even after the emergency event ends, there will be a transition period until full operation of your unit is restored. Please make sure that your cycling level still fits the needs of your family in advance of cycling season. If an emergency event is called for reliability reasons, it will last until the situation is averted.

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