BBJ: BGE pledges $15M in COVID-19 relief grants to small businesses


By Holden Wilen
December 17, 2020

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BGE) is stepping up in a big way to help small businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The utility company announced it has pledged $15 million in grants to small businesses located in its service area. Businesses can begin applying for the grants of up to $20,000 each starting Jan. 20.

The grant program marks a crucial investment as small businesses continue to struggle amid a recession caused by the pandemic. Paycheck Protection Program funding dried up long ago, and the country continues to wait and see if Congress will pass much-needed stimulus legislation.

Restaurants in particular are feeling the brunt of the pain, with some local government leaders choosing to ban indoor dining as the numbers of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to soar.

At the state level, the Maryland Department of Commerce has provided half a billion dollars in grants and forgivable loans to businesses. Local jurisdictions have also stepped up to the plate. For example, the Baltimore Development Corp. has provided $5.5 million in grants to city businesses, with more now on the table for local restaurants.

Those dollars have stretched as far as they can, so BGE’s investment will provide a much-needed shot in the arm.

BGE’s grant program will be in addition to other contributions and assistance the company has already provided since the pandemic began this past spring. BGE provided a $1.5 million contribution to the Fuel Fund of Maryland to assist limited-income residential customers with their bills and $1 million in funding to county-administered business pandemic relief funds.

The utility also expanded its “Workforce Collaborative” infrastructure academy to train approximately 600 local residents for job placement over the next three years, and extended flexible payment plans to help qualifying customers maintain their electric and gas service.

Nonprofit organizations including the Maryland Food Bank, United Way of Central Maryland, PCs for People and the Baltimore Community Foundation have received $1.25 million from BGE and the other Exelon Corp. companies in Maryland.

To read the complete story, visit the Baltimore Business Journal website.

Source: Baltimore Business Journal

Also see: Coverage of GBC Member companies’ philanthropic responses to COVID-19