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Residents suing BGE urge historic preservation to forbid gas regulator installations on 100-year-old homes

Plaintiffs in BGE lawsuit concerned after BGE submits CHAP application to continue work
Plaintiffs in BGE lawsuit concerned after BGE submits CHAP application to continue work 02:47

BALTIMORE -- A group of Baltimore homeowners suing BGE over the installation of external gas regulators are not backing down.

"It's about time that someone holds them accountable," one of the plaintiffs Claudia Towles said.

The group and their lawyer, Thiru Vignarajah, attended a Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) meeting Tuesday.

They're calling on CHAP to make rules about regulator installations at historic homes in the city.

"Part of the frustration of the plaintiff class of the community is how deafeningly silent CHAP has been on this vital issue facing Baltimore and its historic communities," Vignarajah said.

The plaintiffs want CHAP to forbid installations to homes more than 100 years old, issue a moratorium on installations in historic neighborhoods and not approve any BGE applications to install regulators until the court order is lifted.

The controversy over the regulators hit its boiling point last month when three women were arrested in Federal Hill while protesting the installations.

After that, a group of homeowners filed a class action lawsuit against BGE.

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge sided with them ordering BGE to stop installing the regulators for 10 days. That order was recently extended through Sept. 5.

The homeowners said they're concerned now, after learning that BGE allegedly sent CHAP an application to install more regulators last week despite the order from the court.

BGE sent WJZ a statement saying it is complying fully with the court's order and is only installing regulators in certain circumstances, like at businesses or if a customer wants one.

CHAP's Executive Director Eric Holcomb tells WJZ that the application has not been reviewed due to the court order.

CHAP also wants to know more about the regulators and plans to hold a special public hearing to determine what next steps the agency should take.

The date for that hearing has not been decided yet.

"The regulators are a safety issue," Holcomb said. "We are not the body that says it's safe or not safe."

There are two other hearings on the books regarding these regulators coming up.

The Baltimore City Council is holding one Wednesday at 5 p.m. and the Maryland Public Safety Commission has one planned for Aug. 15.

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