Nutter sends PGW sale legislation to Council

Posted: April 12, 2014

The Nutter administration sent legislation to City Council on Thursday to approve the $1.9 billion sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works to a Connecticut energy company.

No Council member introduced the legislation. Although Council President Darrell L. Clarke and other members have expressed misgivings about the sale, administration officials said they were not concerned that the lack of a Council sponsor was an attempt to impede the sale of the 176-year-old utility.

The deal faces a long approval process before Council and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Council is paying a Boston-area consultant firm $425,000 to examine the sale and possible alternatives.

The consultant's reports are likely to play a key role in Council's decision.

"We sent the bill up in part because many on Council and in the public want to know what's in it," said Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter. "This gives everyone a very public opportunity to review and discuss the legislation."

In a memo to Council members, Clarke noted that the sale agreement with UIL Holdings Corp. says that the city and UIL will file a joint application for state approval within 60 days of a bill's being introduced in Council.

Clarke worried that any changes Council might want to make to the agreement would not be reflected in the joint filing. But McDonald said the PUC would not approve a sale agreement until Council had signed off.

Nutter wants to sell the utility and use the proceeds to pay down the city's pension obligation.

The sale has been opposed by the gas workers' union, advocates for the poor, and other opponents.

215-854-2730 @troyjgraham

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