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Baltimore, BGE reach agreement on improving conduit system

The City of Baltimore reached an agreement Tuesday with Baltimore Gas & Electric for the next iteration of BGE’s conduit occupancy agreement.

The city’s 700-mile conduit system is an underground network of critical electric and fiber-optic cables that powers a majority of the city. The agreement would require BGE to continue to pay an occupancy fee, as it has done in the past, but also to undertake capital improvements to the city’s conduit. The city continues to retain full ownership of the conduit.

Baltimore will maintain full ownership of the conduit and any improvements made to the system while still reserving the right to collect occupancy fees from other users and conduct its own capital improvements.

Under the agreement, BGE will contribute $134 million in capital improvement to the conduit over the next four years. BGE will also pay an occupancy fee of $1.5 million annually. Overall, this means an average of approximately $34.5 million invested into the conduit each year as a result of this amended agreement, a substantial and much-needed increase for the conduit system.

The proposed agreement also outlines BGE’s liability for any conduit system failures or other damages caused by or as a result of the improvements or other work conducted under its purview.

The proposed agreement will go before the Baltimore City Board of Estimates on Feb. 15.