The City of Baltimore Reaches Conduit Agreement with Baltimore Gas & Electric
Tuesday Feb 7th, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD. (Tuesday, February 7, 2023) - The City of Baltimore has reached an agreement with Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) 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.
"The proposed agreement with BGE allows for a shared responsibility in increased improvement efforts to the 700-mile capital structure, ultimately reducing the amount of money that the City pays year after year for conduit maintenance," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "This is a sensible agreement that gives the City an opportunity to demonstrate good stewardship over this valued and vital asset."
The City of 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.
"This agreement will lead to an increased investment into our conduit, a decrease in administrative costs and liability for the City, all while allowing the City to maintain 100% ownership of the conduit, consistent with the 2022 Charter Amendment," said Acting Solicitor Ebony Thompson. "This is a great example of a successful public-private partnership and a huge win for the City."
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.
"As the Department of Transportation, we are dedicated to supporting the growth and development of our City," said Department of Transportation Interim Director Corren Johnson. "We will work tirelessly to ensure that every stage of planning, design, and construction aligns with the City's high standards and delivers the best possible outcomes for all members of our community. We are eager to collaborate with BGE and all other entities operating in the right of way to make this vision a reality."
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. There is no clause outlining the utility company's commitment to minority and women-owned businesses, as they already hire and continue to employ businesses owned by minorities and women.
The proposed agreement will go before the City's Board of Estimates on February 15, 2023. To view the full contract, click here.