Group calls on Council to hold PGW hearings

MICHAEL BRYANT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Committee of Seventy wants a hearing before summer break.
MICHAEL BRYANT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Committee of Seventy wants a hearing before summer break.
Posted: June 12, 2014

THE COMMITTEE of Seventy, Philly's good-government nonprofit, renewed its call today for City Council to hold hearings on Mayor Nutter's proposal to sell Philadelphia Gas Works before the lawmakers take off for summer vacation.

Council's last scheduled meeting this session is June 19. Members will reconvene in September.

UIL Holdings Corp., the Connecticut company Nutter has picked to buy PGW for $1.86 billion, is allowed to walk away from the deal if it isn't approved by Council and the state Public Utilities Commission by July 15. The company, however, is not expected to abandon ship right away.

"If Council intends to kill this deal, or any sale of PGW, it should be up-front and explain its reasons to the taxpayers," Seventy president Zack Stalberg said in an email. "If members genuinely have open minds, they should welcome a public hearing as an important first step in the due-diligence process they claim to be undertaking."

Council is paying Concentric Energy Advisors, of Massachusetts, $425,000 to examine bids that were submitted to the administration and to evaluate whether there are options for expanding PGW rather than selling it.

Jane Roh, spokeswoman for Council President Darrell Clarke, said that Council will not hold hearings until Concentric completes its research, which she said should be soon.

"City Council agrees that public hearings on the potential sale of PGW are imperative," Roh wrote in an email. "Beginning the hearing process before Council has received final reports from Concentric might not hurt assessment of the deal, but it would certainly be a waste of time."

Council sometimes holds occasional hearings on a single issue over its summer break. Last year, following the deadly Center City building collapse, they examined demolition regulations. The year before, it was safety at recreation centers.

Roh said she "can't say" whether Council will make PGW their issue of the summer.


On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN

Blog:ph.ly/PhillyClout

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|