Philly Council stalls on bill for $1.86 billion PGW sale

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Philadelphia City Council is still considering whether to introduce a measure to sell the gas utility PGW  for $1.86 billion. Three months after Mayor Michael Nutter proposed the plan, nothing formal has been put on council’s agenda.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said she’s happy none of her colleagues has introduced a bill to sell Philadelphia Gas Works because she doesn’t want the utility in private hands.

 

“I’m really worried about seniors, low-income people and all that,” she said Monday. “I’m sorry for the mayor’s budget,  $1.86 billion out of it, but I’m not for selling it.”

Discounts for seniors and the poor stay in place no matter who owns PGW since they are mandated by the state, according to Suzanne Biemiller, Nutter’s first deputy chief of staff.

And procrastinating on the deal will only cost the city money, she said. It could realize less of the purchase price for UIL Holdings Inc., a company based in New Haven, Connecticut., Biemiller said. And a big enough delay could scuttle the deal entirely.

“The asset purchase agreement that UIL and the city signed gives UIL an out without any penalty if City Council has not acted on the legislation by July 15 of this year,” she said.

With only a few more sessions before City Council’s summer recess, the outlook for resolving the matter before then is not good. Council President Darrell Clarke will not say whether a bill will even be introduced before the break.

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