Central Committee Member
Baltimore City Republican Party
Chris is a Baltimore native, U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and lifelong community advocate who is seeks to become the next state senator from District 40. Chris is a natural leader who regularly attends New Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore.
The BGE Conduit Deal
A Detrimental Agreement for Baltimore
The controversy surrounding Baltimore City’s agreement with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is deeply concerning to Baltimore’s voters. Despite reservations expressed by certain city officials regarding the negotiation process, the city solicitor has indicated that they are proceeding with the project’s planning phase.
Recently, members of the Baltimore City Republican Party, including myself, attended a Baltimore City Council meeting to gain insight into the proposed BGE agreement with the city. This agreement grants BGE significant control over the city’s underground conduit system, responsible for housing 700 miles of utility cables. BGE’s persistent pursuit of ownership over this system was met with resistance from voters, who recently endorsed a measure mandating that the city retains ownership.
During a lengthy session at City Hall, city council members probed city leadership about this BGE conduit deal, an arrangement largely unknown to council members. This raises substantial questions about Mayor Brandon M. Scott’s judgment, particularly criticism centered on the vague terms outlining how BGE intends to allocate the $120 million allocated for network upgrades over the next four years. This unfavorable agreement lies squarely at the feet of the mayor, and accountability should reflect on his upcoming re-election bid. The mayor seemingly disregarded the voters’ wishes, opting for BGE’s special interests over those of his constituents. Furthermore, this deal translates into increased gas and electric bills for Baltimore City residents.
In November 2022, Baltimore City voters decisively rejected the sale of their underground conduit system, with nearly 77% supporting the charter amendment and only 23% in opposition. Currently, Baltimore residents are pursuing a temporary restraining order against Baltimore Gas & Electric Company to halt the installation of gas regulators on the exteriors of rowhouses. Several West Baltimore residents have now joined a lawsuit against BGE, contesting the utility’s campaign to install high-pressure gas regulators against residents’ wishes. This lawsuit, initiated on June 23, alleges that BGE persistently seeks to install potentially unsafe and unwelcome high-pressure gas regulators in Federal Hill, going so far as to disconnect gas services for residents who objected. Adrienne Smith, a homeowner on North Smallwood Street, experienced a two-month power outage in October after disputing the installation of external gas regulators.
Mayor Brandon Scott’s failure to heed the voters’ mandate is inexcusable. This situation demands accountability, and the mayor’s removal from office is warranted. His actions do not align with the best interests of the citizens of Baltimore.
Article Originally Appeared in the Baltimore City Patch