BGE’s Captain Mercaptan Natural Gas Safety Contest Kicks Off

First five contest entries eligible for a special prize this year

Gas and Electric Company (BGE)
today announced the kickoff of the
2017 “Adventures
of Captain MercaptanSM, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge
The annual contest encourages elementary school students in BGE’s
service area to illustrate a gas safety message featuring Captain
Mercaptan, BGE’s fictional natural gas safety superhero. The contest,
now in its fourth year, will award a total of $35,000 to eligible

Entries will be accepted through March 19. A special prize will be
awarded to the first five teachers to submit an entry.
Public and
private elementary schools in BGE’s service area are urged 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 superhero and his
safety sidekicks were designed by elementary school students through a
BGE contest.

“Safety is part of our culture at BGE and maintaining a safe and
reliable natural gas system for our customers is imperative,” said
Christie McMullen, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. “Campaigns
like the ‘Captain Mercaptan Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge’ were
designed for elementary school students to help them learn important
aspects about working and living safely around natural gas. Students
ultimately become safety ambassadors by taking the message home to their

Schools are also encouraged to use the teacher’s guide at
to review gas safety concepts with kindergarten through fifth grade
students, and begin creating their contest entries. Beginning March 27,
entries will compete for votes during a two-week, online public voting
period. The winning schools will be announced in May. Last year’s
winning entry was from Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore.
To date, BGE has awarded over $100,000 to area schools during the first
three years of the contest.

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

  • BGE Captain’s Choice Award – $5,000 overall top winner among the Hero
    Award winners, meaning this school receives a total of $10,000
  • BGE Hero Award – $5,000 for winners in kindergarten through fifth
    grade (one winner per grade)
  • Rock the Vote (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

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

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. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of
$5 billion of output in its service area, supporting more than 9,500
local jobs and producing $923 million in labor income. BGE is a
subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading
competitive energy provider. Like us on
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Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE)
Justin Mulcahy,
Media Hotline: 410-470-7433