Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said Friday that it expects to spend more than $15 million to inspect, maintain and replace utility poles in parts of the region this year.

BGE said it plans to check the condition of more than 36,000 of the wooden poles in sections of Baltimore, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County, treat them to protect against insects and replace nearly 1,800 through a program intended for that work. The utility said that wouldn't include poles maintained or replaced through its other infrastructure projects.

BGE said it spent about $11 million on the program last year and replaced more than 1,200 poles in parts of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County.

Utility pole conditions can play a role in power outages. In an inspection of 60 poles that fell in one utility's territory during a 2011 windstorm, California regulators found that a third had already been weak thanks to rot, termites and other damage.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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