Firm Says PGW Sale Poses Concerns

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

KYW Newsradio reports that a new report is raising concerns about the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to UIL Holdings, a private Connecticut company.

The report from Concentric, a consultant to City Council on the sale, hasn’t been made public, but council members have been briefed on the contents. And it raises two main questions, council member Maria Quinones Sanchez says:

Among them: the possibility that UIL would turn around and resell either PGW’s Liquid Natural Gas facility, or resell the entire utility.

“The concern is — what is to stop a company from coming in, figuring out it can’t make a profit, flipping it or splitting it, Quinones Sanchez says, “and creating a situation where the city would be dealing with two potentially different entities?”

Also questioned by the consultant, according to Quinones Sanchez, is one key premise of the sale — that private owners would run a tighter ship, thus keeping rates down.

“The ability for a private company to be more profitable or efficient is not as clear cut as folks would like us to believe,” she says

Quinones Sanchez, however, said the report contains neither an explicit thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the deal. That will be up to council — and the state’s Public Utility Commission, which also holds power of approval. The sale of PGW is expected to net nearly $2 billion, from which proceeds would be used to shore up the city pension system.

Councilwoman Decries “Scare Tactics” in PGW Sale

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Councilwoman Marian Tasco is criticizing a new radio ad from UIL Holdings, the company that’s trying to buy Philadelphia Gas Works from the city.

The ad suggests that the “dangerously outdated” gas infrastructure of century-old cast-iron pipes is an “accident waiting to happen.” It’s a suggestion that has stirred Tasco’s ire.
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PGW Nightmare: Family Has Gas Shut Off Over “Secret” Gas Line



(This piece has been updated to include comment from a PGW spokesperson and a copy of the termination of service notice Anderson-Bell says she received.)

LiRon Anderson-Bell and her husband Glenn relocated from Blue Bell to a big house in the Overbrook Farms neighborhood of Philadelphia in 2003 after they fell in love with the tree-lined community just minutes from the Eastern edge of the Main Line. But now their love affair has turned into a veritable nightmare after a visit this week from PGW. Read more »

UIL: Despite Crucial Deadline Passing, We Still Want to Buy PGW

[UPDATE: 12:07 p.m.] Mayor Michael Nutter has issued a statement praising UIL Holdings for not backing out of the PGW sale, and essentially letting everyone know where the bottleneck is:

“This incredibly important issue is squarely in front of City Council and both the Company and our Administration have been providing voluminous amounts of information to City Council and its consultant, Concentric Energy Advisors,” Nutter said in the statement. “We eagerly await Concentric’s report and the opportunity to present our case for selling PGW to City Council and the public.

“We stand fully prepared to provide Council with any further information or analysis it might need as it conducts its vital and historic due diligence on this matter. We look forward to the introduction of the legislation and the announcement of a schedule of Council hearings. Philadelphians have an absolute right to know the basic details of the transaction and how it will impact them as consumers and also how it will affect the dedicated workforce and retirees of PGW, the fiscal impact on City government and its Pension Fund and the city’s economy.”

Full statement below:

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City Council Study of PGW Sale to Cost Nearly $100K More Than Expected

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

On the eve of a deadline that would allow Connecticut-based UIL Holdingsto back out of an agreement to purchase PGW for $1.86 billion, the Inquirer reports that the studies commissioned by City Council to evaluate the deal will end up costing $522,750. That’s nearly $100,000 more than the $425,000 Council had previously announced it was going to be paying Concentric Energy Advisors. The reason? Council modified its original RFP:

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