Baltimore Gas & Electric Class Action

Case Name: Soretha Staten, et al. v. Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.

Case type: Public Interest Litigation

Filed in: Circuit Court for Baltimore City

Docket: Case No.: 24-C-23-002872

Case Summary

Sanford Heisler Sharp is representing customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. (“BGE”), alleging that the Maryland utility engaged in constructive fraud and negligent misrepresentation by falsely asserting the authority to install exterior gas pressure regulators, which has caused damage to residential properties and created unnecessary safety hazards. An Amended Complaint, filed on September 25, 2023 by Baltimore Managing Partner Thiru Vignarajah, adds new named plaintiffs to the class and additional allegations: trespass to residents’ land, breach of contract, and discrimination under the Maryland Public Utilities Article (PUA).

According to the Complaint, the installation of thousands of exterior gas pressure regulators since 2021 has caused damage to historical buildings as well as sidewalks and streets, creating hazards for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Simultaneous to initiating litigation, plaintiffs obtained a Temporary Restraining Order against BGE in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Additionally, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that BGE has no legal authority to force paying customers to accept the installation of exterior gas pressure regulators.

The Complaint alleges that BGE’s decision to install exterior gas pressure regulators is motivated not by “safety concerns,” as it has stated, but by corporate profit priorities. Rather than repair aging interior gas lines, BGE is installing the exterior pressure regulators because in Maryland, the utility is entitled to recover the cost of infrastructure investments through rate hikes and surcharges to customers, according to the Complaint.

The Complaint alleges that BGE is threatening customers with termination of service if they refuse to comply, and has engaged in discrimination under the PUA by allowing some residents to choose the option of an indoor gas pressure regulator while failing to provide this choice to other residents in similarly situated neighborhoods.

The Complaint seeks a jury trial, and compensatory and punitive damages.

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