Nick Rosen |

Story by Amber Woods in Baltimore
There’s really no nice way to say this: Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is robbing me freaking blind.
I live in a one story, two bedroom, brick house that was built in the late 1940’s. It’s less than 1,500 square feet and has been recently renovated (and better insulated.)
I keep the heat at average temperatures-never above 63 or 64 degrees. This month, my electric bill was $560.
Last month it was more than $500 also.
So BGE: What’s is the deal?
If you’ve ever received one of these “you’ve got to be kidding me” bills from BGE (and I understand many people have) then like myself, you probably called and asked for an explanation. And like myself, you were probably thinking it’s not possible that you used that much energy in one month.
And if your experience was anything like mine, the customer service representative gave you some seemingly rehearsed line about how it’s “normal” to see your bill double during the coldest time in the winter.
OK, let me start by saying my bill was around $120 per month this fall. So more than $500 is more than double, right?
Here’s the thing: I’m not buying it.
No really. I’m literally not buying it.
I’ve turned my heat way down (just warm enough so the pipes don’t freeze) and I’m using minimal lights. I cranked up the wood-burning fireplace for the very first time since I moved in (I’m actually huddled up next to it typing this column in fingerless gloves) and I’m going to be journaling my experience every day this month.
That means I’m tracking how many lights, what temperature the thermostats are set, and every other detail about energy I consume for the next 30 days.
I’ve decided if BGE has a monopoly over this part of the east coast, and my options are to either pay them half of a mortgage payment each month or live like the Amish-well, I’ll go with the latter.
I understand the price of oil is expensive, but it’s no wonder people are going green and looking for self sustaining options.
In an effort to save my retirement fund (and even my house from foreclosure at this point) I’m going to be doubling up on socks and waiting out this next month to see if BGE is possibly “estimating” my usage, as they’re automated call system claims, or if there is an alternative way to get energy.
I’m open to your suggestions, and I already have friends who are considering their own green options.
So what do you think it’s going to take? Solar panels? Wind mills? What do we need to construct in Havre de Grace (and around the country) in order to show BGE and other monopoly energy suppliers that we won’t tolerate being taken advantage of?

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