BALTIMORE — You may not realize it, but every month, Maryland utility customers are paying a surcharge for energy savings programs.
This surcharge is under EmPOWER Maryland, a group of programs that help reduce energy consumption and as a result, save you money on your energy bill. One of those programs includes a Quick Home Energy Check-up. The check-up includes a walk through with an energy professional to identify potential savings.
Vicky D'Agostino's energy bill isn't breaking the bank, but she's still looking to spend less, so she requested a BGE Quick Home Energy Check-up.
Max Kelly, a home efficiency professional with EZ Green Home, was assigned her case. He walked through her home surveying every energy-consuming appliance and space.
"I'm going to be able to put on some pipe installation," said Kelly. "It should save you a couple bucks a year just keeping that water hotter as it gets up to your showers, sinks, things like that."
Anywhere he could squeeze out savings, he'd point it out.
"So if we were to change all of the lights in the house and reduce them by 80 percent, which a standard LED would do for you as opposed to an incandescent, you could look at a 10-15 percent reduction in your bill," said Kelly.
"That's where you need to hit me, the pocketbook," D'Agostino replied.
To sweeten the deal, Kelly supplied up to 14 new LED light bulbs.
"They are pricey, so that's a big savings right from the get go, and they last for years," said D'Agostino.
Kelly also installed a new shower head and smart power strips.
Other energy saving measures, courtesy: EmPOWER Maryland
Amey Bayes, BGE program manager of energy efficiency programs, said this service is at no additional cost to the consumer. Customers pay a small charge every month for energy savings programs. You can see how much the fee is by looking for the line item "EmPOWER MD" on your BGE bill. The average monthly surcharge for electric is around $6.81 and $2.26 per month for gas.
"So that was a little bit illuminating to see that line item and what that's for. I like to know what my money goes to," D'Agostino said.
The fee isn't optional. It stems from a law passed in 2008.
"We have a lighting program, we have a smart thermostat program, home performance with energy star program, which is an insulation program. We offer rebates," Bayes said.
A BGE spokesperson told WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii, customers who have a Quick Home Energy Check-up save on average $60 per year.
You can schedule a check-up on their website.
Also, look for the BGE Smart Energy "reduced price" sticker to get a better rate on LED light bulbs at participating retailers.
And if you have a Matter for Mallory, she wants to hear from you. You can email her using the form below.