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Volume XVII, Issue 10 - March 5 - March 11, 2009
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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, 1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403 •
E-mail them to [email protected]. or submit your letters on line, click here

BGE’s High Utility Bill Response

Dear Bay Weekly:

In response to questions about electric bills, BGE will have representatives in Calvert County to follow-up with those who raised specific concerns during the Feb 14 community meeting [Letter from the Editor: About Utility Bills, We’re Mad as Hell; Feb. 19]. We will also conduct meter tests for customers who attended. But every indication suggests the primary cause of higher bills has been increased usage due to cold weather.

A heating system typically uses twice as much energy when the temperature is below 30 degrees than it would on a day with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. So far this season, there have been 600 hours (equal to 25 full days) where the temperature has dropped to 30 degrees or less — twice as many as during the same period last winter. For customers with older heat pumps, like many in Calvert County, usage may have doubled during the cold snap simply because heat pumps may become inefficient at or below 30 degrees.

Along with increased usage, market prices for electricity and natural gas are higher than they were just a few years ago. Prices have increased nationwide.

To better manage usage, customers should consider lowering the thermostat, sealing gaps in windows and doors and using energy efficient products. Additionally, BGE continues to announce new programs that help customers conserve and offer financial incentives for participation. For more information, go to or

Customers might consider BGE’s Budget Billing program, which spreads payments out more evenly over a 12-month period so customers aren’t as affected by seasonal usage increases. Lastly, qualifying customers interested in applying for energy assistance in Southern Maryland should call 410-535-1010 or 301-274-4474.

–Jeannette M. Mills, Baltimore Gas & Electric

On Telescoping Fishing Rods

Dear Bay Weekly:

Enjoyed Dennis Doyle’s column about selecting a fishing rod [Feb. 19]. Has he any experience with telescoping rods, and are there any he would recommend?

–Bob Siegel, Annapolis

Dennis Doyle’s Reply:

Not many telescoping fishing rods are made. Cabela (an online and catalog tackle company) makes a series of better quality telescoping rods.

My experience was with a two-piece casting rod, the front section sliding back into the butt section. The rod went from seven feet to about four. At first I was ecstatic with its compactness and portability. Then I got sand inside the tube. Every time I pulled the front section forward to seat it for fishing, sand particles gouged and scraped the surface of the rod blank. Then I used it in the rain and the tube filled with water. Casting drove some of the water up into the tip, and I could feel the difference.

The best configuration for a compact rod is a multi-piece travel rod. Usually in three or four sections, they are 25 to 35 percent more expensive than a standard one- or two-piece rod. Shakespeare makes a multi-pieced Ugly Stik that is around $50. St Croix, an excellent brand, has a line of travel rods with travel tubes priced from $120 to $160.

From an action and durability perspective, the two-piece rod is the most useful. Generally costing about $10 more than the standard one-piece, it reduces the overall length of the rod to a manageable size and retains almost identical durability and action and ease of maintenance.

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