One week left for submissions into BGE’s natural gas safety contest

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) reminds public and private elementary schools in its natural gas service territory that the third annual “Adventures of Captain MercaptanSM, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge” entry phase concludes on March 24. The goal of the contest is to have elementary school-aged children in BGE’s natural gas service territory illustrate a gas safety message featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE’s fictional natural gas safety superhero. The contest awards $10,000 to the top school for a school enrichment project.

Public and private elementary schools in BGE’s service area are encouraged to use the teacher’s guide at to review gas safety concepts with kindergarten through fifth students, and begin creating their contest entries. Beginning April 4, entries will compete for votes during a two-week, online public voting period.  The winning schools will be announced in early May. Last year’s winning entry was from St. Stephen School in Kingsville. Overall, $35,000 was awarded by BGE to area schools as part of last year’s contest.

Schools are encouraged to download the online entry kit and read our comic book featuring Captain Mercaptan. In the comic book, Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak and what steps to take when you smell gas. Captain Mercaptan’s name is derived from “mercaptan,” a safety additive that BGE and other utilities put in natural gas to give it a distinctive rotten egg odor that makes gas easier to detect.  The super hero and his safety sidekicks were designed by elementary school students through a BGE contest.

Eligible schools will have an opportunity to win the following awards:

  • BGE Captain’s Award – $10,000
  • BGE Hero Award – $5,000 for winners in kindergarten through fifth grade (one winner per grade)
  • BGE Spotlight Award (for the drawing with the most online votes) – BGE backpacks full of school supplies and safety gear

Captain Mercaptan teaches children that they can be a hero too if they follow these simple safety tips:

  • Use your nose. Mercaptan is a safety scent that BGE puts in natural gas to give it a rotten egg smell.
  • Use your ears. Listen for the hissing sound of escaping gas.
  • Use your eyes. Look for dirt being blown into the air, dead plants or grass in otherwise green areas, fire coming from the ground or water bubbling and being blown into the air.
  • If you detect natural gas, leave immediately.
  • Don’t attempt to detect the source of the leak.
  • Don’t use matches or turn anything on (including a cell phone).
  • Find a safe place outside and call BGE or have an adult call 1-800-685-0123.

BGE traces its roots back to 1816 and the first gas utility in North America. Today the company provides safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 650,000 gas customers in central Maryland. Customers are reminded to immediately contact BGE at 1.800.685.0123 from a safe location if they have any questions or concerns about natural gas. For more information on the Captain Mercaptan contest, including future adventures, visit Gas safety tips are available at

BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation’s first gas utility, is Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility. Headquartered in Baltimore, BGE delivers power to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,200 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube  and Flickr.

Source: BGE

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