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Public Service Commission hears BGE, customers testimony on exterior gas regulators

BGE Regulators point to large explosions in fight over external regulators
BGE Regulators point to large explosions in fight over external regulators 02:54

BALTIMORE – Maryland's Public Service Commission heard from Baltimore Gas & Electric officials and its customers Tuesday regarding the utility's installation of exterior gas regulators.

Commission chair Frederick Hoover said the PSC will not issue any direction or ruling on the matter Tuesday, but rather "at some point in the future."

BGE officials urged the PSC to "provide clear direction on how to proceed" with the program, which has come under increased scrutiny from city residents in recent months.

"External regulators provide the safest option to customers to mitigate against catastrophic event," BGE attorney David Ralph said Tuesday.

The company has installed thousands of the exterior regulators across Baltimore City. A Circuit Court judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order in June, prohibiting the installation of the regulators and preventing BGE from shutting off service to customers who refuse the regulator installation.

BGE lawyers Tuesday cited several house explosions as a reason the outside equipment is safer, allowing leaks to dissipate outside instead of building up inside homes. It said the Flower Branch Act of 2021, which requires new construction and renovations to have exterior equipment, does not require the work they're doing across the city, but its safety standards have changed. BGE officials, though, admitted the company never made an official filing with the Commission about the change in its standards.

The issue of exterior regulators led to three city customers being arrested in June during a protest in Federal Hill. The women had been protesting the utility's service shut-offs. Charges were later dropped.

Baltimore City Council is also considering legislation banning the installation of the equipment.

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