A report of a gas leak set the stage for an explosion and subsequent fire at a Columbia townhouse complex back in September of 2015.
State regulators later learned a vehicle had struck a gas meter located inside a garage of one of the townhomes, and the Public Service Commission subsequently ordered BGE to relocate such vulnerable meters.
"Although our equipment met all safety regulations at the time, we certainly agree this is worthwhile---the recommendations that were proposed by the Public Service Commission in terms of protecting meters,” said Justin Mulcahy, a BGE spokesman, “We feel that's worthwhile for our customers, so we didn't contest anything at the time and nor are we now."
BGE spent six months isolating where the precariously placed meters still exist, some 6,000 of them, and it's already started replacing them in Anne Arundel County where more than 1,300 exist.
"If you see any new building, any new construction, gas meters are located outside and there's a reason for that, because you don't want a buildup and a subsequent ignition of gas," said Mulcahy.
The explosion in Howard County caused an estimated $2 million worth of damage and only two people were injured, including the BGE worker who responded to the original report of a gas leak and quickly determined the threat it posed to those living in and around that townhouse.
"Our employee at the time was also deemed to be a hero,” said Mulcahy, “He took immediate actions based on his training and his experience to evacuate several homes."
Relocating the meters in question will take five years beginning with work in Crofton before crews move on to Odenton and Edgewater.