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As Philly Council recess nears, $1.9 billion PGW deal unresolved

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 Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announces earlier this year at City Hall that UIL Holdings Corp. of New Haven, Conn., plans to purchase PGW. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announces earlier this year at City Hall that UIL Holdings Corp. of New Haven, Conn., plans to purchase PGW. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

It looks like Philadelphia City Council will take its summer recess without agreeing to sell Philadelphia Gas Works to a private company.

It’s unclear if the proposed deal will fall apart over the summer.

If council doesn’t take action by July 15, the buyer, UIL Holdings Corporation can exit the deal without a penalty. Council President Darrell Clarke says he’s intent on fully reviewing the deal, even if that review is not finished by the deadline.

“We said all along we will review the documents, which we are,” Clarke said Monday. “We are doing our due diligence as it relates to a very significant transaction, and, at the appropriate time, we will take whatever action is necessary.”

UIL vice president Michael West would not say whether the Connecticut-based company would call off the $1.86 billion deal even if there’s no progress by July 15.

“We’ll evaluate once that time comes what our next move will be,” West said. “We are just continuing to be respectful of the process and hope that there is some action taken but, certainly, that’s a deadline that everyone knows is critical.”

Keith Holmes, president of Local 686 of the Utility Workers Union of America, is pushing for the city to retain ownership of PGW.

“You privatize a public utility, the rates will increase or there will be massive job loss,” Holmes said. “One of the two things have to happen.”

Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration, which negotiated the sale, has stressed there are assurances built in to prevent layoffs. Possible rate hikes are controlled by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

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